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Last Updated: Friday, 15 April, 2005, 06:16 GMT 07:16 UK
Souness blames Magpies' bad luck
Newcastle manager Graeme Souness
Newcastle boss Graeme Souness claimed "things conspired against" his side as they went out of the Uefa Cup.

Sporting Lisbon won 4-1 in the second leg, going through 4-2 on aggregate, after the Magpies lost Kieron Dyer, Titus Bramble and Jermaine Jenas.

The injuries were such that Charles N'Zogbia, 18, had to finish the game with a suspected fractured collar bone.

"We are very disappointed," said Souness. "We felt that things conspired against us."

Souness added: "We had some golden opportunities to kill them off, and then we started to lose our better players with Jenas coming off at half-time, Titus coming off and then Kieron Dyer, who had been a real threat during the game, coming off.

"We knew we were under pressure then and when we had had our strongest 11, our starting 11, we were very confident, especially after getting the first goal.

"But it shows how thin our squad is. We had some boys on there tonight and asked them to do a man's job. But that is the situation we find ourselves in.

"There is nothing we can do about it. We will take this defeat on the chin and start to prepare now for a very hard game in Cardiff on Sunday (against Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-finals).

It's a shame - we had a great chance to win this tournament
Kieron Dyer

"If we had managed to keep our starting 11 on the pitch, I would not be sitting here telling this story, I think it would have been a very different story."

N'Zogbia's season is probably now over, Souness revealed.

"You might not see him again this year," he said. "We think he has broken his collar bone."

Kieron Dyer admitted Newcastle self-destructed as they lost to Sporting Lisbon and missed out on a Uefa Cup semi-final against AZ Alkmaar.

Dyer said: "To concede four goals - you don't deserve to win. We have shot ourselves in the foot.

"We scored the first goal and were comfortable. It's a shame - we had a great chance to win this tournament.

"Our defending was not good enough. For 60 minutes we were really comfortable and then we just blew a gasket."

Dyer admitted Sunday's FA Cup tie now takes on even more significance.

"We have got to pick ourselves up quickly," he added.

"It is our only chance of silverware and getting into Europe so we have got to improve considerably."


WATCH AND LISTEN
Report: Radio Five Live's Simon Brotherton


Interview: Newcastle boss Graeme Souness





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