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By ESPN Staff

Roeder promises Magpies will toughen up for return

Newcastle boss Glenn Roeder promised his side will be a tougher proposition when they head for Lillestrom next week with their UEFA Cup qualification hopes in the balance.

The Magpies looked rusty before they belatedly roused themselves to secure a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their Intertoto Cup clash with the Norwegians.

Robert Koren fired the visitors into a 21st-minute lead with a shot which looped over keeper Shay Given after clipping midfielder Emre, but Albert Luque's 50th-minute strike ensured they will not be in deficit next Saturday.

Roeder said: 'We had parts where we were quite rusty in our play - some of the passing that was cut out today or a lack of quality in our passing - which we will eradicate in a few weeks' time.

'Sure enough, we were rusty through parts of the game. But it's done us good and we will now look forward to the game next Saturday - and we will be a lot fitter.

'This game will do us the world of good. We know they have got the away goal, but we are all grown-up, we know the rules of European football and we know what we are going to have to do.'

Luque's well-taken goal belied a lack of cutting edge, the provision of which will be the focus of chairman Freddy Shepherd's shopping mission following Alan Shearer's retirement and Michael Owen's latest bout of injury misery.

However, the reinforcements will not arrive quickly enough for next Saturday's game, and Roeder will have to hope Luque, Shola Ameobi and youngster James Milner can produce the goods in Norway.

Asked about the performance of the Spaniard and Milner, who started the game up front, Roeder replied: 'It's asking a lot for them to gel so quickly.

'We have had two or three practice games against the Under-19s, and there's only been a short period of time for them to work together. They did as well as could be expected.'

Shepherd is hopeful of making a transfer breakthrough this week, but Roeder was giving nothing away.

He said: 'It's always possible. You never know what's going to happen the next day you get up.'

For now, the focus will be on squeezing past Lillestrom in a game which could have a huge bearing on the atmosphere at St James' Park for the coming season.

Roeder admitted: 'It's huge, it's very, very important. Finance is important to the club, but as far as the players are concerned, it's the honour of representing the club in the UEFA Cup by qualifying which is important.

'We know we have got it difficult by drawing the first leg and conceding an away goal, but the boys are going to be much sharper next week.'

Lillestrom coach Uwe Rosler was delighted with his side's performance, but insisted they are not favourites to go through.

The former Manchester City striker said: 'No, we are not the favourites - but that's what we wanted. We have now a great position.

'It's a great result. I'm really proud of my players, especially in the first half.

'They were fantastic. We confused and frustrated the Newcastle players, especially in midfield.

'They had not much going forward and we threatened them with Michael Mifsud, Robert Koren, Bjorn Helge Rise and Olivier Occean, and we totallly deserved to be 1-0 up in the game.

'They (Newcastle) are class players. We are not in their league, they have so much class. They have got really, really good players and they will make it extremely difficult.

'But hopefully, we will have a good home crowd and we will play the same way.

'We have got the away goal - that's vital - and we will see what happens.'