Rob Elliot

By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor


Rob Elliot believes United's pre-season tour of New Zealand was "perfect" for the Magpies to showcase both sides of their game.

Victories over Sydney FC and Wellington Phoenix in Dunedin and Wellington respectively were achieved with contrasting performances by Alan Pardew's men.

Tuesday's 4-0 triumph over Sydney  was a comfortable affair, with plenty of slick, passing moves and some well-taken goals.

However, the result against the Phoenix on Saturday had to be ground out, but was equally impressive in its own way, thanks to a stubborn rearguard display.

And goalkeeper Elliot, who kept a pair of clean sheets in the southern hemisphere, knows just how important it is to be able to perform at both ends of the spectrum.

"It is almost perfect in a way," he told, of the friendlies.

"If you could ask for it, you would want two games of football - one where you play free-flowing, technical football with loads of movement, and then the second like an away game, with a big stadium, loads of noise and against a team who put you under pressure.

"We have experienced both of those out here and it's really pleasing that we came through both of those tests, with two wins and two clean sheets.

"It couldn't have gone much better and it shows we have got a great group here."

Elliot starred in the second half against Wellington with two outstanding saves in a matter of minutes to deny Jeremy Brockie.

The Republic of Ireland international was pleased to play his part in the 1-0 victory and was full of praise for United's A-League opponents.

"It's always good to make saves" he said.

"I was a bit sloppy in the first half, especially with my kicking, and the gaffer reminded me of that at half-time. So I went out in the second half and made sure I was back on top of my game.

"These things can happen in pre-season and you need to use the friendlies to get your rhythm and timing back. It was nice to make a couple of good saves and help the team to a win.

"Fair play to Wellington because the atmosphere and the way they played made it very intense. But we came through the challenge well, worked hard and held on to get a very good victory.

"Regardless of it being pre-season, you want to win and they were a great advertisement for the A-League and for football in New Zealand."