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Kinnear tells Newcastle stars to stop sulking

SoccerNews in English Premier League 28 Sep 2008

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Joe Kinnear plans to start his reign at crisis club Newcastle by telling his struggling stars to stop sulking.

Kinnear, 61, was in the stands at St James' Park on Saturday as his new team slumped to a fifth successive defeat, 2-1 at Blackburn, to remain rooted in the relegation zone.

Kinnear, who was appointed as interim manager on Friday and officially takes charge on Monday, was shocked by Newcastle's woeful defending which allowed Christopher Samba and Roque Santa Cruz to head the visitors into a 2-0 lead with just 41 minutes gone.

The former Nottingham Forest and Wimbledon boss, who had addressed the players before kick-off, had some choice words for them at the break, and that seemed to do the trick as they turned in a much-improved, second-half display.

However, Michael Owen's 49th-minute penalty – his fifth goal in seven games – was the only tangible reward and Kinnear knows he has a major task on his hands in training on Monday.

“We needed to stop feeling sorry for ourselves,” he said. “We need to get rid of all the issues that are going on – Is the club being sold? Are we bringing back Kevin Keegan? – until it actually happens.

“We need to focus on playing football, it's as simple as that. And they need to play football well.

“But what has not helped matters, I am told, is that six or seven of the best players are missing.

“On the good side, with the international break coming up we could have four or five of them back.

“We need to be more vocal in the dressing room, we need more input. It's something that I have always had throughout my career, feedback from players, players who show emotion, players who want to win, players who have things to say.

“I was pleased with the second half. When we got the early goal we had a reasonable chance with Geremi and he tried to bring it down in the six-yard box when I thought he might have got a shot off.

“But we were tighter at the back, we limited them to maybe two shots in the second half. Having said that, we need to get more end product ourselves from the strikers we have.”

Kinnear will also have to watch next week's game at Everton from the stands after being punished for comments made to the referee following Forest's clash with Gillingham in November 2004, shortly before his departure.

Asked about the ban, he said: “I got two matches for calling one of the referees Coco the Clown. I asked the referee what he did in his spare time, and that was it.”

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