Shearer gets personal as Newcastle plan escape route against Portsmouth
21 April 2009 11:30
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Newcastle boss Alan Shearer has been holding one-on-ones with his under-achieving stars in the latest bid to get them out of the bottom three.
Shearer and his players now face a crucial home meeting with Portsmouth and they need three points in the Monday night showdown at St James' Park to stand any chance of survival.
Recalled midfielder Jonas Gutierrez, who was handed a key role in a new-look side at Tottenham on Sunday, revealed Shearer has been spending his
time geeing up his players ahead of the clash.
And the Argentina international admitted Pompey's visit is a must-win game for Newcastle who are now second bottom and four points from safety after the 1-0 defeat at White Hart Lane.
Gutierrez said: 'The manager tries to work with all the players and tells everyone to be positive and to think that we can do this.
'That is very important for us. We have to believe like this for the next five games until the end of the season.
'The boss is talking to us and wants to make us better players. The team tries its best in every game. We have to think about the next game now, we have to keep the belief.
'We have to believe in ourselves and the team. If we don't then it is impossible for us to do what we need to.
'We have three home games and they are very important. We need to win next week against Portsmouth.
'We need all the three points because we are in a very difficult situation and we want to leave this league position behind.
'The final matches for us are going to be very difficult. No team is going to make it easy for us but all we can think about is the next match, nothing else, because we have to win this game.'
Shearer is hoping to have Joey Barton in full training by the end of this week and ready for the Portsmouth game.
The midfielder stepped up his training yesterday (Monday) aiming to overcome a metatarsal injury.
Shearer said: 'Joey did a little bit of training on Monday and we hope he will be fully training by Thursday or Friday and if everything goes well then we might have him available for Portsmouth.'
The bad news is that left back Jose Enrique should also have recovered from the knee injury which has ruled him out of the last two games.