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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr 5, 2009

Shearer remains defiant in defeat

Alan Shearer is confident Newcastle United will avoid relegation but admits Saturday's defeat by Chelsea underlined the magnitude of the task at St James' Park.

The former England striker has just seven games to save the team from dropping into the Championship after being appointed manager until the end of the season.

However, Saturday's 2-0 loss means the Magpies are deep in trouble and currently sit third from bottom of the Barclays Premier League, three points from safety.

Shearer though retains faith in his team and told the BBC: "It's a tough job, I don't think it is a poisoned chalice.

"I've got confidence in the players I've taken over for a short period of time. Yes, they are low on confidence. It's a huge job but I'm still confident we can avoid the drop.

"I learned that when you give mistakes away in this league you get punished.

"I learned confidence at times is perhaps not as high as it should be so I've got a few more days before the next game where we can work on that.

"We are going to have to improve - we need wins and we need them quickly."

The 38-year-old was able to bring Michael Owen into his starting line-up and believes his former England colleague still has an international future despite being overlooked by Fabio Capello.

"I really do," Shearer said. "I still think he is the best goalscorer around."

However, such was the force of the opposition yesterday, Owen had few clear chances although he was convinced his 73rd-minute shot had crossed the line before Ashley Cole hooked clear.

Shearer has also refused to make any points target for survival.

"No, I don't (know) because when you look at the league there are going to be so many twists and turns between now and the end of the season I'm not sure what is going to be enough," he said.

"But we have to get our first win and see where that takes us."

The Magpies' record goalscorer is adamant he will only be there until the end of the season, saying: "I've considered a few things up to now and you can never tell what is going to happen in the future.

"This is for the eight games and the eight games only and I'll be back on Match of the Day next year."

Shearer's Match of the Day colleague Alan Hansen believes he can succeed, saying: "Yes, I honestly think he will keep them up.

"I think Alan can handle most things, I think he has gone into this situation knowing they are in dire straits.

"But I think he thinks Newcastle are better than where they are.

"They've got some winnable games coming up - it's his job to galvanise the team and to galvanise the supporters and put them on the pitch and start winning some football matches.

"Alan Shearer is quite an inspirational figure, when you talk to him you tend to listen."

Shearer's former England team-mate David James admits to being taken aback by the short time the ex-Southampton and Blackburn forward plans to be at St James' Park.

The Portsmouth keeper, who also has plans to break into management in the future, said: "The surprise if anything is the fact it is only for eight games.

"Without wishing him too much luck - especially with our game - but I would like to wish him luck as a former team-mate.

"But I have ambitions of being a manager one day and if I take over if the opportunity arises, then it is for the long haul not just for a short period of time.

"So it will be interesting to see how it pans out. But for eight games - it is not a great deal of time."

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