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Page last updated at 18:19 GMT, Sunday, 19 April 2009 19:19 UK

Shearer sets Magpies home target


Home wins are essential now - Shearer

Newcastle manager Alan Shearer believes his side need to win their last three home games to avoid relegation after their 1-0 defeat by Tottenham.

Darren Bent's goal after 24 minutes was enough to leave the Magpies four points from safety, with five games remaining.

They now face Portsmouth, Middlesbrough and Fulham at St James' Park.

Shearer said: "We'll be expected to win those and we have to, starting with next Monday against Portsmouth. My attention's now on that must-win game."

The former Newcastle captain said his players lacked urgency and revealed he was concerned with the concentration of his team.

I still believe we have got enough

Newcastle boss Alan Shearer

"I've said to them I'm very pleased with the second half but give me an explanation why there's no urgency like that from minute one," he stated.

"We have our own ideas, our own theory as to why but we have to start games in the first minute like we finish them in the last 30 minutes.

"I've asked them for a reaction at half-time and they gave me it. Effort-wise I've got no complaints. You've seen the urgency, you've seen spark and belief that they can pass it around.

"I want to see that for 90 minutes. Then we'll have the chance of taking three points instead of one or none. I still believe we have got enough."

Substitute Obafemi Martins provided an attacking spark in the second half and went close with two gilt-edged chances, while also having an effort ruled out for handball and a penalty shout turned down by referee Mark Halsey following a challenge by Jonathan Woodgate.


But it was Bent's first-half goal on the counter-attack after a Newcastle break that proved to be the match-winner.

Newcastle started the match with three centre-backs in defence, a strategy Shearer said was forced upon him - with the two strikers who came on after an hour not fit to start the match.

"We didn't have an option. We haven't got a fit left-back and our only option was to throw Martins and Mark Viduka on in the second half."

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see also
Tottenham 1-0 Newcastle
19 Apr 09 |  Premier League
Sunday's football photos
19 Apr 09 |  Premier League
FA Cup & Premier League as it happened
19 Apr 09 |  Football

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