Newcastle United skipper Michael Owen has revealed he has no problem with manager Alan Shearer after being dropped by him.
The 29-year-old striker was left on the bench for the 3-0 Premier League defeat at former club Liverpool, and had little chance to make amends for his costly miss in the Magpies' 0-0 home draw with Portsmouth five days earlier when he came on as a substitute.
Owen hoped to return to the starting line-up for Monday night's must-win derby clash with Middlesbrough, and insisted there were no hard feelings.
Writing in his programme notes for Monday night's game, he said: "On a personal basis, I am glad the last fortnight is over.
"I was angry with myself for missing that chance against Portsmouth and then disappointed to be left out of the starting line-up against my former club, Liverpool.
"I have known our manager, Alan Shearer, ever since I started in the game and consider him to be a friend.
"But there was no old pal's act as far as his decision-making was concerned.
"Though I was upset and felt that he was wrong - only last week, the press pointed out that even though I had only scored eight league goals this season, my conversion ratio was the best in the Premier League - what I can't fault is the way he handled the situation: strong, up-front and honest, just the way a top manager should be."