No Celebration - 25/10/2005
Nolberto Solano has revealed how Newcastle's victorious players refused to celebrate their Tyne-Wear triumph over Sunderland and admitted that a thrilling defeat of bitter rivals has not disguised the shortcomings of United's inconsistent campaign.
And the talented Peruvian knows that the feel-good factor generated by Sunday's pulsating derby success against the Black Cats will soon disperse again unless Graeme Souness' side can use the result as a springboard to rejoin the top-flight elite at the right end of the Premiership table.
The Magpies have won just 13 league fixtures during Souness' 13-month reign and already have a great deal of ground to make up if the return to European competition, which is the minimum target for this season, is to be met.
The St James's Park boss hopes the finest hour of his Tyneside tenure will inspire his players to make the necessary improvements. But only if such a transformation can be achieved will his players join the supporters in toasting their weekend win.
"The players were not celebrating in the dressing room after the game because we are ambitious and we are still too far away from where we want to be," explained Solano, who finally made the first appearance of his second spell in the North East in a 3-2 defeat of the spirited Wearsiders. "We have lost too many points this season and this is not the time to be enjoying the moment.
"We're all happy for the fans, but that is about it for us. I'm thrilled we got the points, but now we have to look forward to the next game.
"The fans will be happy at the moment because we have beaten Sunderland, but our ambition is to finish in the top four this season - that is what is required.
"We need to keep picking up more points if we are to get to where we belong. We haven't started well and we have lost too many games.
"We have got to win three or four games in a row and then we will see what happens with the rest of our season." Newcastle's players will spend this morning finalising their preparations for tomorrow night's potentially-awkward Carling Cup tie against Grimsby.
Sunday's success will be forgotten in an instant should the Magpies endure an embarrassing evening at Blundell Park.
"It won't be easy, because no games are in England," said Solano, aware the domestic cup competitions represent United's clearest chance of engineering a successful season. "We need to play well and show that we want it. If we want to lift any trophies this season, this is the kind of game we need to win."
With Solano and Emre both back from their respective injuries and Kieron Dyer, Michael Owen and Titus Bramble all making progress, Souness hopes he will soon be able to call upon his strongest side for the first time this season.
It will be then that a true judgement can be passed on the Magpies manager.
"That was a win for the manager and he deserves it," said Solano. "He is a great man, but he has been under pressure the whole time. He was really happy after the game, and there was also some relief, because he knows the pressure we have all been under. He has been really frustrated.
"It hasn't been easy because the biggest clubs haven't had the same amount of injuries as us and they also have bigger squads. When all of our players are available, we will see what happens.
"Any manager needs time and that is the case here, he needs time to get it right. We need to have everyone back and then try to finish in the top four.
"There has been pressure on the manager but, with the full squad available to him, things will be different."
The return of Solano has left United's manager and the club's fans more confident that brighter times could be on the horizon.
The popular South American added: "The reception I got at the weekend was fantastic, the supporters were amazing and I found it an unbelievable experience. With our crowd, it should always be a joy to play at St James's Park and I'm so glad that they were able to go home happy."
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