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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep, 29, 2006

Roeder challenges Martins to break 20-goal barrier

Newcastle manager Glenn Roeder challenged £10million striker Obafemi Martins to break the 20-goal barrier after watching him open his account at St James' Park in the 2-1 victory over Levadia Tallinn.

The 21-year-old Nigerian headed home a 47th-minute Emre corner and then drilled a left-foot shot in off the underside of the crossbar three minutes later to take his tally for the club to three.

For Roeder, who had promised his big-money summer signing would score goals, it was the perfect response to the pressure which had been mounting on his shoulders.

He said: 'I am sure he himself will target 20 goals, as any other striker should be doing.

'There are very few strikers who are considered so good with their play outside the penalty box that 20 goals is not considered a must.

'The one that always crosses my mind is Mark Hughes. He would often chip in with 12 or 15, but because of his brilliance outside the box, you would accept that.

'But most strikers are expected to score 20 goals-plus, that is a good benchmark, and I do not see why Oba should not pitch himself around that.

'If he was pitching any less, he would be selling himself short, and I am sure he will not do that.'

Leading 1-0 from the first leg, Newcastle struggled to impose themselves before the break, but Martins' intervention so quickly after it effectively killed off the tie.

They will now await Tuesday's draw in Nyon having earned the reward for the early start in the Intertoto Cup.

Roeder said: 'It was a really good night's work. Two-one did not quite tell the whole story in terms of the amount of possession we had.

'We created more chances in the second half and could have scored a few more. I am a little bit disappointed to concede a goal which made it look closer than it really was.'

Keeper Steve Harper, however, was disappointed to have conceded after substitute Indrek Zelinski's 65th-minute header had squirmed under his dive, although Roeder was quick to absolve him of any blame.

He said: 'He is being very hard on himself in the dressing room, which again is a sign of his quality as a person because he is self-critical.

'It was a slippy surface out there, it was a good downward header. If anything, I was disappointed he (Zelinski) was allowed to climb above our defenders and get the header away.

'Steve is disappointed that he did not get down quicker to get a hand to it, but it was right down by the side of his legs in a position which often beats a goalkeeper.

'With a greasy top, it slid very quickly past him.'

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