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Nikos' latest interview
Nikos Dabizas is adamant Newcastle have nothing to fear from Gerard Houllier's Liverpool after tomorrow after lambasting Thursday's UEFA cup draw with Olympiakos as the worst Red's performance he has witnessed following his move to English football. United's Greek international is confident his club will pick up three points against a side which took four points from the Magpies last season and went on to reveal his own comeback bid is a month ahead of schedule. Although Emile Heskey and his teammates won rave reviews after clinching a 2-2 draw in Athens, Dabizas was less than impressed having assessed the game from his seat in the Olympic stadium.

The former Olympiakos favourite is convinced a repeat performance at St. James's Park tomorrow will only spell disaster for the visitors and added: "Newcastle will not sit back and be beaten. For much of last night's game Liverpool played with nine players behind the ball and they clearly lacked confidence at the back. Perhaps they were worried about Olympiakos's record at home but I have never seen my old team play so poorly and yet all Liverpool could manage was a draw. Newcastle is an attacking team while Olympiakos prefer not to rush things. That suited Liverpool last night but they will have to think again if they believe they will get away with it against United. The first thing they set out to do in Greece was not to concede a goal and that might be because they have some defensive problems at the moment. It was a poor performance from both teams and if Liverpool don't change the way they play in time for this weekend's game then they will find life very difficult at St. James's Park".

Dabizas injury had surgery on his surgery knee early last month and has surprised his Athens based medical team with the rapidity of his recovery. The 27-year-old laughed off suggestions that he will miss the rest of the season before his operation and claimed he would return to action by early March.

Now Dabizas is confident his comeback will come even sooner than that and he added: "I should be training properly by January and be challenging for a place by February. By next week it will be two months since I had surgery and things are going very well. I am working hard for five hours every day in the pool and in the weight room and with the physio. My only aim is to get back on the pitch and I miss Newcastle the players and the Premiership. I have never been injured before and I am a like a fish out of water without a ball on my feet. It is very frustrating but I am helpless."

Dabizas has been keeping a close eye on Newcastle's progress from his Greek base and claims there is no cause for concern in the wake of last weekend's defeat to Sunderland. Sharing the disappointment of United's fans the centre half accepted the 2-1 loss was a setback but he explained: "the players still performed well. At the moment the luck is not with us at home but the team is playing as well as they were last season when we hardly lost a game at St. Jame's Park. The difference is that our opponent's respect as more than they did 12 months ago and teams come to Newcastle looking for a point. Our away form is far better to this season and it's only a matter of time before we get back to winning ways at home. Bobby Robson is building a new team and a new club and the supporters must be patient. The improvement is there for all to see and the current league table does not lie."

The Journal


232 Appearances in England (175 for Newcastle United, 18 for Leicester in the Premier League and 39 for Leicester in the Championship). Total League-Cup-Europe appearances 550. National Team appearances 70. Goals total 40.