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Which Juventus? - 22/10/2002

Which Juventus?
Outstanding in the first game
   Sir Bobby Robson
 Leagues & Cups:
   Champions League

It’s our last real chance to get anything out of this season's Champions League…and we’re facing the one of the best sides in the world. It sounds daunting, but them again, which Juventus will turn up?

The last thing I want to do is tempt fate, but if Juve don’t play to their full potential, we’ve every chance of getting something out of the game. If you look at the table, with Juve sitting in top spot, it looks like they’re already through. They’ve got a tough domestic schedule to consider and I wonder if their full strength team will be selected? By all accounts they had a very tough match against Inter Milan on Saturday – Del Piero scoring what they thought was the winner with 3 minute to go, then Inter getting a last gasp equaliser after five minutes of injury time! They also seem to have a few niggles and I expect no player will be unnecessarily risked. However, even if a full strength team is turned out, will they be as mentally ‘up for it’ as they could be? If it had been the last game of the group and they were still needing points, then we’d be certain of a epic battle. It's difficult to say how their level of motivation will be, but only time will tell…

I’ve been named in the squad for the game, so I’m hoping to at least make the bench as games like this don’t come along every weekend. I know that the gaffer has been talking to the media and encouraging the fans to get behind the team. I think we all sense that after the first three games, the thrill of Champions League football has not quite lived up to expectations. We've got the ability and I think that if we start well and the atmosphere is there, we’ve got more than a chance. Whether I’m playing or sitting on the bench or the stands, I don’t know, but hopefully it’ll be a memorable night for Newcastle United.

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