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  Wednesday, 19 February, 2003, 03:32 GMT
Birthday delight for Robson
Newcastle manager Sir Bobby Robson
Robson was given the best possible birthday gift
Newcastle boss Sir Bobby Robson celebrated his 70th birthday in style as his back-up strikers handed him the perfect gift.

Shola Ameobi and Lomana LuaLua, standing in for the suspended Alan Shearer and Craig Bellamy, plundered three first-half goals over crisis club Bayer Leverkusen.

The victory at the BayArena gives Newcastle an outside chance of still reaching the quarter-finals.

Robson said: "The most important thing is that you need points to help yourself.

"You won't qualify unless you do things on your own and you win and you pick up the points.

My birthday is for me, but this result was for the public and the club and the players

Sir Bobby Robson
"The odd match going the right way obviously can assist you, but we have a chance.

"Certainly, if we can win next week - and I'm saying if we can win, I'm not saying we will win - it opens the door for us and you never know.

"With Barcelona at home and Inter Milan away, at least we have a chance now.

"This was a vital result for us. We have won and now we just have to build on that result.

"It's still open. Nothing is decided after three games - it never can be. The important thing for us was to look after ourselves and that's what we've done.

"Barcelona and Inter Milan play again next week - they may knock each other out - and we play Bayer, so it's a beginning, it's a start.

"It gives us some hope."

He added: "My birthday is for me, but this result was for the public and the club and the players."

The most important thing for us is staying in the Bundesliga

Thomas Horster
Bayer Leverkusen coach

Robson's joy was in stark contrast to the disappointment of opposite number Thomas Horster in his first game in charge.

He was appointed following the sacking of Klaus Toppmoller on Sunday and his reign got off to a disastrous start.

The 46-year-old made no fewer than eight changes to the side which lost 2-1 at home to Hansa Rostock on Saturday to hasten his predecessor's departure.

And he admitted that this weekend's Bundesliga trip to Hannover rather than the Champions League would be his priority.

"If you look at the table in the Champions League, of course there's not much chance for us to qualify for the next round," said Horster.

"These will be test matches for us.

"But the most important thing for us is staying in the Bundesliga. That's the only thing I'm focussing on."

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BBC Five Live's Dave Woods
"Newcastle were terrific in all areas in the first half"
Newcastle boss Sir Bobby Robson
"Our early play won us the game"

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Sir Bobby Robson is still going strong at the grand old age of 70

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19 Feb 03 | Champions League
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