Related News

Home » Sports » Soccer

Shearer pledges to restore player confidence

ALAN Shearer returned to Newcastle as manager yesterday, acknowledging he had only eight games to rebuild confidence and try and keep the team in the Premier League.

Born in Newcastle and a former free-scoring Magpies striker with no coaching experience, Shearer has returned to where the fans lauded him as one of the club's all-time greats.

He said he would work nonstop to try and make sure the team, currently 18th in the 20-team Premier League, did not drop into the second tier of English football for the first time since 1989.

"It would hurt and it would devastate me if this club were playing in the League Championship next season," Shearer told reporters in his first news conference as a football manager. "(The fans) know me as well as anyone and know they will get 100 percent, 24 hours a day for the next seven or eight weeks. I hope that will be good enough because it would sadden me and thousands of supporters if we were in the Championship. They don't deserve that, they deserve better."

Having retired from playing football in April 2006, Shearer has been working for the BBC as a TV analyst and had turned down jobs both at Newcastle and with England.

"I could have been sitting on the sofa on a Saturday night being analytical and critical. It's great, I loved that," he said. "But the opportunity is right and I believe I can help this football club get out of the position that they are in at this time."

He said the club has enough quality players to get out of trouble, including former England teammate Michael Owen, but that the squad needs a confidence boost.

"I wouldn't be sitting here if I didn't think there wasn't quality in the squad," he said. "I realize that there is quality there but they are not playing with any confidence and it's my job to get that right."

With thousands of Newcastle fans outside St. James Park to greet Shearer, he said the focus of their attention should be on the full team.

"It's not an Alan Shearer thing. It's not about me. It's about keeping this club in the Premier League," he said.

Asked if he was being paid a bonus to avoid relegation, he replied: "There is no bonus for me other than keeping this club in the Premier League."

Shearer is the fourth Newcastle manager this season after Kevin Keegan, Joe Kinnear and assistant manager Chris Hughton, and takes over with the club still in turmoil after a turbulent season.

Owner Mike Ashley tried and failed to sell the club, and the appointment of former Chelsea star Dennis Wise as director of football was derided by the fans. Wise left the club on Wednesday, shortly before the Shearer hire was made official.

"The powers that be have admitted mistakes were made this season and it's important that whatever mistakes have been made, they're gone," Shearer said. "It's history, we can't do anything about it. ... We've got a massive fight on our hands, in very difficult circumstances, we've got injuries but we'll face it head on and give it a right good go."

Hours before he was due to face the media in his first news conference, he arrived at the club's Benton training ground to conduct a practice session with the players ahead of Saturday's difficult home game against third-place Chelsea.

Shearer will be assisted by former Northern Ireland striker Iain Dowie, who has been manager at Queens Park Rangers, Crystal Palace and Coventry.

Newcastle has not won the league title since 1927 or the FA Cup since 1955.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend