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Page last updated at 15:16 GMT, Tuesday, 23 September 2008 16:16 UK

Owen speaks of bleak Magpies mood

Michael Owen
Owen has played under four different managers at Newcastle

Newcastle United striker Michael Owen has called on his team-mates to "snap out of the doom and gloom" he believes is adversely affecting the club.

The club are without a manager after Kevin Keegan's exit, have been put up for sale and have lost their last three games, conceding eight in the process.

But Owen believes the players must now put off-pitch concerns to one side.

"It's unfortunate but that's the way it goes. Players are paid to play and we have got to perform," he said.

"We are all feeling it at the moment, but we have to try and get some confidence and results - not picking up the results is hurting the players.

"We all liked Kevin Keegan and we were sad to see him go."

Newcastle have not won since beating Coventry City in the Carling Cup in August, but face a Tottenham side with problems of their own in the third round of the competition on Wednesday.

The Carling Cup holders have not won a league game this season and sit bottom of the Premier League table, one place below Newcastle.

But the turmoil at St James' Park following Keegan's exit as manager earlier in the month shows no sign of abating, with Newcastle appointing London-based investment bank Seymour Pierce to handle the sale of the club on Monday.

Owner Mike Ashley wants to sell the club after fan protests against him, and hopes Seymour Pierce chairman Keith Harris, who was involved in selling Chelsea to Roman Abramovich in 2003, can help.

But Owen confessed the players are as clueless as the supporters about Newcastle's long-term future.

"We are as much in the dark as the fans and it does not make it any easier as Kevin Keegan was very popular," said the England striker, who has already played under Graeme Souness, Glenn Roeder, Sam Allardyce and Keegan since arriving in August 2005.

"You almost become immune to these happenings in football nowadays and I have seen plenty in my time."

Newcastle split rumours are nonsense - Harper

Goalkeeper Steve Harper, who was at the club during Keegan's first stint as manager in the 1990s, labelled his team "an easy target" but insisted they could pull together.

"People talk about 11 or 12 players wanting to leave - I have been in that dressing room for a long time, but recently, I have not heard one person say they want to leave this club," said Harper.

"We are a small, tight-knit squad, but we have got experienced characters in there and there are no splits in the camp, no rumblings of people wanting to leave. That's nonsense, to be honest."

see also
Crunch time for Newcastle & Spurs
23 Sep 08 |  League Cup
Ashley tells bank to sell Magpies
22 Sep 08 |  Newcastle
Ashley puts Newcastle up for sale
14 Sep 08 |  Newcastle
Fans' fury at Keegan exit
04 Sep 08 |  Newcastle
Keegan resigns as Newcastle boss
04 Sep 08 |  Newcastle

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