It's Sol in our hands - 15/05/2003
Wing wonder Nolberto Solano believes that Newcastle United must win
the games that matter if they are to challenge for the Premiership
title next season.
Last season against the five other teams in the top six, United took
just 11 points from a possible 30 - and the Peru skipper has
pinpointed this as the reason why Newcastle's Premiership challenge
petered out late in the season.
But he believes another season of Champions League football will
strengthen the Magpies and make them more like champions Manchester
United and runners-up Arsenal, who are both able to rise to the big
Newcastle's only wins against top-six sides came at home to Chelsea,
Liverpool and Blackburn Rovers, with United taking just a point from
their four meetings against Man United and Arsenal.
"We played well all season but in the crucial times we need to be more
like Manchester United and Arsenal - we have to win the crucial
games," said Solano.
"We were very close last season, but we lost to Everton at a crucial
time and then we lost to Manchester United, which was also a big game.
"Had we won them we would still have been in there fighting for the
title. It comes down to doing as well as you can in the crucial games.
"That is where we need to be strong. Manchester United and Arsenal
have the experience in the big situations and everybody at those clubs
has played at least five times in the Champions League and the players
have played in big World Cup games.
"It is important that we're back in the Champions League and that we
stick in there every season so we can build a team that can succeed."
Solano re-stated his commitment to United at the end of the season,
insisting he has no intention of leaving St James's Park.
The right-sided player, signed by Kenny Dalglish for stlg2.5 million in
1998 from Boca Juniors, has three years left on his contract and is
determined to help Newcastle win some silverware.
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