Souness in battle with fans as well as Chelsea

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The Independent Football

The Newcastle manager, Graeme Souness, will order his players to forget their rousing Uefa Cup fightback in the Netherlands as they attempt to knock the Premiership leaders, Chelsea, out of the FA Cup today.

The Newcastle manager, Graeme Souness, will order his players to forget their rousing Uefa Cup fightback in the Netherlands as they attempt to knock the Premiership leaders, Chelsea, out of the FA Cup today.

The Magpies were facing a fans' revolt at the Abe Lenstra Stadium in Heerenveen on Thursday night when Alan Shearer again dragged them out of the mire to pave the way for Lee Bowyer to secure victory and a good chance of progression to the last 16 with an 82nd-minute goal. Even the former Leeds midfielder's dismissal for a second bookable offence four minutes later could not dampen the mood in the camp, although Souness said the confidence they gained as a result will count for nothing at St James' Park.

"Chelsea are different opposition and it's a different game of football," he said. "We start 0-0 and it's up to us to get after them, but get after them in a sensible way and not leave ourselves exposed when we chase them, as we have to at home, because our crowd expects that. Hopefully we can do it in a sensible way.

"We should take confidence from the game. We were involved in a hard football match. We went a goal behind, but we dug in and got a good result out of it, and I think we can take a great deal of confidence from that."

The fact that his Chelsea counterpart, Jose Mourinho, has indicated that he will field a weakened side, with next week's Champions' League game against Barcelona in mind, may increase optimism. But having lost 2-0 to just such a side in the fourth round of the Carling Cup - albeit after Frank Lampard, Arjen Robben and Eidur Gudjohnsen were introduced - they will not be fooled.

Souness's predecessor, Sir Bobby Robson, was denied the chance to take the club to a third successive FA Cup final in 2000 by the London side thanks to a Gus Poyet double either side of Rob Lee's equaliser, and the hunger for revenge is there in abundance. However, Souness's need to win over the growing band of dissenters in the stands has raised the stakes.

Boos have resounded around St James' this season, and though the Scot admits this is far from ideal, he is confident it will not affect his players unduly. "When you are out on the pitch, you want to be loved if you are a football player, and my players are no different," he said. "But I have got no worries about that."

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