Raddy Antic’s side proved to be too good for Newcastle last night at St. James’ Park.
With Newcastle needing a victory and hoping that Leverkusen could get at least a point against Inter, quarter-final qualification was always going to be tough for Bobby Robson’s men.
Goals from Patrick Kluivert and Thiago Motta were enough to send Newcastle out of the competition, but Bobby Robson has said he can’t wait for another chance to play in Europe’s elite competition.
“We will be back. We have enjoyed the experience and this is the stage we want to play on,” said Robson.
“We were the better team. Wehad the chances, the possession, the work-rate and then they stole the victory from us.”
Robson was also aggrieved at the way in which the goals were conceded, admitting that both goals were down to ‘school boy errors’.
“The goals belong in the school yard, not at St. James’ Park,” added Robson.
“Kluivert stole a schoolboy goal because of Titus’ error. We defended too deep for the other one.”
With Craig Bellamy missing a glut of opportunities, Newcastle could have easily won the game.But Robson was quick to defend the Newcastle forward.
“I can’t criticize Bellamy for all the chances he did not take. He was working off crumbs,” said the 70-year-old.
“He is a jewel and you can’t criticize those sort of guys.”
Barcelona coach Raddy Antic kept his unbeaten record at Barcelona after the victory at St. James’ Park and was delighted to see his team win the game.
“It was a good game, Newcastle chased the win from the first minute to the last, said the former Luton Town player.
“But I was pleased with my team’s victory – they worked hard and played well.”
Antic was also full of praise for Dutch striker Patrick Kluivert, who has often been accused of complacency by former managers. But Antic believes the striker is now vital to his team’s success.
“I am delighted with his form and his selfless work for the group, said Antic.
“If he carries on working like he did today, you really cannot ask for more.”
Antic also acknowledged the contribution of defender Patrick Andersson and reserve team goalkeeper Valdes whom he said “played with authority”