Roeder backs misfiring Martins
By Tom Adams. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Newcastle United boss Glenn Roeder backed new striker Obafemi Martins to find his scoring touch after fellow summer arrival Antoine Sibierski scored on his debut in a 1-0 win over Levadia Tallinn.
Although Nigerian international Martins looked lively throughout, he missed a host of chances and the Uefa Cup first round, first leg tie was settled by a tenth minute goal from partner Sibierski.
Martins has now drawn a blank in his first three games since his high-profile move from Internazionale, but Roeder believes the jet-heeled striker will grow into the shirt previously worn by Alan Shearer.
"I have no concerns whatsoever," said Roeder.
"I see him every day in training and I watch him practice and trust me, his finishing is deadly.
"It's just getting the first one which often is the most difficult. But when he gets that first one and he gets more used to playing with us and us with him, I am sure the goals will come on a regular basis.
"He is a young player and he is a player that although he has come from a big club like Inter Milan, he was not always used there as a number-one striker, which he is going to be at Newcastle.
"That is an extra responsibility, but I am sure in the coming months, he will take that extra responsibility on board and with that, he will score the goals as well that I know he can."
The 1-0 win in Estonia followed a disappointing Premiership defeat to Fulham, and Roeder was pleased to see his side produce a more composed defensive display in the Uefa Cup clash.
However the Magpies boss revealed concerns about the sharpness of his side during a goalless second half.
"I am satisfied with the result, the same as the result when we went to Latvia (in the last round)," Roeder added.
"We have got an away goal and a clean sheet, which was vital for us tonight for obvious reasons.
"The first-half performance was very good, but in the second half you have to say that at times, we did not look as sharp as you would expect us to be.
"I do not make excuses, but you have got to look for reasons.
"We looked at our travel arrangements and we have been out here for two days like we did when we went to Ventspils and looked full or energy throughout the game.
"But tonight, five or six players looked tired with 20 minutes to go, which is quite unusual. But when we had to defend, we defended a lot better tonight."