Roeder shifts pressure onto Chelsea
Newcastle manager Glenn Roeder heads for champions Chelsea tonight insisting the hosts are under more pressure than his battle-weary troops.
The Magpies will arrive at Stamford Bridge defending an eight-game unbeaten run and having lost just one of their last 12 in all competitions, a return which has seen them haul themselves out of the Premiership relegation zone.
However, while Roeder is well aware only a continuation of that form will end their fears of being sucked into the fight against relegation, he believes Chelsea's need to cut back Manchester United's eight-point lead at the top of the table is even more pressing.
He said: 'There is no doubt about it, Chelsea are used to playing under pressure because they are expected to win every game they play.
'But I would have thought they are under greater pressure to win this game than we are.
'A point for us would be absolutely fantastic, but it would not be fantastic for Chelsea.'
Given the fact that Newcastle have not won at Stamford Bridge in more than 20 years, and that they headed south with 13 senior players on the injury list, the omens for a change of fortune are not promising.
However, they were given little chance of returning with anything when they went to Arsenal last month and came back with a point after taking a shock lead.
Roeder said: 'I am not a superstitious person, not that I have a problem with people who are. As a player, I had very good results at Stamford Bridge and used to enjoy going there and playing.
'There are never two games the same, so just because Newcastle have not done well for a few years does not mean we cannot dig in - because we are going to have to, we are going to be under pressure for long periods of the game, like we were at Arsenal.
'But the fighting qualities and the special character came through in that game and we dug out a 1-1 draw that could have been a 1-0 win on another day.
'We need the same sort of performance at Chelsea. We need to carry a little bit of luck on the night as well, and if that happens, we can come away with something.'
If that is to happen, the Magpies may need £30.8million striker Andriy Shevchenko to extend his disappointing run of form, and Roeder is hoping the Ukrainian's true quality is missing for another 90 minutes or so.
He said: 'It does not need me to say he is a player on the world stage, and has been for a number of seasons.
'The first time I saw him live was at Middlesbrough earlier this year, and he has got great movement off defenders and is always looking to find space. Of course if he does and the ball arrives at his feet, you could be in trouble.
'There is too much being made of him settling into the Premiership. Over the past few weeks, he has really shown everyone what we already knew, that he is a world-class footballer.'