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Football: Gullit's despair after defeat

THE NEWCASTLE UNITED manager, Ruud Gullit, last night refused to rule out the possibility of resigning after his club's worst start to a season in 40 years.

The Magpies were humiliated 4-2 at Southampton and lie bottom of the Premiership with no points from three games. Two goals from Hassan Kachloul and one each for Marian Pahars and Mark Hughes condemned the Geordies to their third defeat of the new season after Alan Shearer had put them in front from the penalty spot. Gary Speed's late goal proved to be of little consequence.

Gullit is quoted at 2-5 by William Hill to leave the club before the end of the season and the team are 5-1 to be relegated. Gullit, asked if he would consider resigning, replied: "You never know." Pressed if that meant yes or no, he said, enigmatically: "That's true."

The Dutchman was left in despair at The Dell as his expensively assembled team surrendered a first-half lead to the Saints. When asked if he would be manager next week against Wimbledon at St James' Park, he said: "I will have to think about it. I will think about what I saw today and what I've seen for the last few weeks."

A clearly downcast Gullit continued: "I don't know what happened. We were transformed from very good to very bad. That frustrates me, the players and the fans."

Southampton's manager, Dave Jones, said: "Newcastle are a good side with some good players but they will need time to settle in. I'm just glad they hadn't settled in when they played us."

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