Looking ahead to the derby match, Rob Lee said that every player was fully aware of the importance of the derby match, with the exception of Tino Asprilla…
Lee says that Tino Asprilla would approach every match the same and was totally unfazed, whether it was a derby, the World Cup final or a game in the park.
As for his own experience of derbies, Rob Lee says that despite losing only one, when Alan Shearer missed a penalty, it is easy for him to pick his most memorable.
The midfielder choosing his very first Newcastle v Sunderland derby, when United made it 11 wins in a row from the start of the season, when they won 2-1 at Roker Park in October 1992.
Lee also says that Kevin Keegan was totally unfazed by derbies when he was at Newcastle – though his reasoning was because he knew he had such good players compared to Sunderland, so approached every derby with confidence that United would win.
Rob Lee speaking on Sky Sports’ Soccer AM:
“I played in seven derbies and it is the first one (18 Oct 1992) that stands out for me. We had won our first nine games and that was the tenth (Newcastle had actually won the first 10 and Sunderland match made it 11 in a row).
“I only lost one and that was when Shearer missed a penalty. He missed the penalty to make it 2-2, so it was his fault I lost one! That game (11 wins in a row game) in 1992/93 we went to Roker Park and won 2-1 I think.
“Kevin Keegan never really took it (derby games) any differently really. We had a very good team at the time and we weren’t fearing Sunderland really. We knew it was a derby game but we expected to win really.
“We had a lot of foreign players at the time, with Philippe Albert, David Ginola and Asprilla. I think they all knew the importance of the game…well, apart from Asprilla – he didn’t know what was going on most of the time. If he was playing in the park or in the World Cup final he would play exactly the same.
“The players we had at the time knew (the importance), not for the players but for the fans and the area.”
Special Offer for new Betfair customers
Click HERE to take this enhanced 7/1 price on Rafa Benitez marking his home debut with a derby win.