Robson laughs off rumours ahead of Saints game

Newcastle boss Bobby Robson is determined to draw a line under an eventful week by claiming a first Premiership win of the season against Southampton.

The 70-year-old was furious over the rumours which spread like wildfire in midweek that he had resigned following a poor start to the campaign, and while he attempted to laugh it off yesterday, he was clearly still bristling.

"Where it all came from and how it transpired is quite bewildering," he said. "It's nonsensical it's quite disturbing, actually but I'm trying to have a laugh about it and be full of humour about it, to be honest.

"It's in the past, and how these transpire through the media, I'll never know. Then it's a bush-fire and one thing leads to another and all of a sudden, it's two words and you can make a book out of it.

"Anyway, we're through that and all I'm concerned about now is the team and the mood of the team and the passion of the team and the commitment by the team and their responsibilities for the match tomorrow against Southampton.

"I have to say the players have looked good in training. We've had a few laughs on the pitch and everybody's back to normal, everybody's up to it.

"The players are aware of the situation of the club. The name of the game is win W-I-N and we haven't done it, and we have to.

"I don't think there will be any lack of effort at all by any player tomorrow and I hope we can erase personal errors and defend better in the box as we have to do."

Midfielder Gary Speed heard the rumours of Robson's demise, but never gave them a second thought.

"I had a phone call in the afternoon to ask me, but it was Tuesday and we'd been training morning and afternoon that day and the Gaffer was there all the time," he said.

"There was a lot of stuff being said and written over the past week that was complete rubbish, so you take that kind of thing with a pinch of salt."

Tomorrow's game will reunite Speed with Saints boss Gordon Strachan, who played alongside him in the Leeds midfield which helped the Yorkshire club win the championship in 1992 and inspired him to build his own career along the right lines.

"He's a big friend of mine and every time I play against Gordon these days, I'm reminded of that," he said. "He's been a massive influence on my career - if it wasn't for him, maybe I wouldn't still be playing at a club like Newcastle United.

"People had written him off when he joined Leeds at 32 and I think he was 35 when he won Player of the Year at Leeds.

"That inspires you as a young player to look at that and try to live your life the way he did. He was a great role model for me at that time.

"I've got a lot to thank him for but I'll do it after the game when we've got three points."

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