Shearer admits to `tug' on Bosnich

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Alan Shearer has admitted that he did foul Mark Bosnich, the Aston Villa goalkeeper, in an incident that led to Newcastle's second goal in the 2-2 draw at Villa Park yesterday.

"I gave him a tug, but if you see it on television he took two or three steps after that," the England striker said. Bosnich countered: "It cost me my momentum and I lost my balance when I took my next stride. People know that happens sometimes."

The Villa keeper caught a high ball off Shearer's head and tried to run to the edge of his area to punt the ball downfield. But with Shearer in close attendance, his right leg slipped from under him and his kick steered the ball straight to Lee Clark 30 yards out.

As Bosnich floundered, his lob soared over the head of Steve Staunton on the line to put Newcastle 2-0 up after Shearer had opened the scoring.

Brian Little, the Villa manager, believed the foul should have been punished. "I genuinely felt Shearer tugged him. I spoke to the referee at half-time and he said he didn't see it. That's fine," he said.

"But those decisions are big decisions to get wrong. At this level they are massive. At 2-0 that could have been the end for us."

Meanwhile, Shearer was cautious when asked about the resignation of Kevin Keegan as Newcastle manager. Asked if it was true that the players had given Keegan a baby's dummy for Christmas, he said: "I certainly don't know anything about that."

And when asked if Keegan was prone to fits of temper he added: "He was no different to any other manager. He would get annoyed and quite rightly at a bad performance."

Terry McDermott, the caretaker manager, revealed the Newcastle players had not asked asked why Keegan had left when the news broke on Wednesday. "To be honest, not one of them asked why," he replied. "They were shocked, they did not have a clue. Each and every one of them was shocked. I read the statement out so they didn't need to ask why. No one has asked since either but they probably will.

"You never know how players are going to react. On Wednesday when I told the players there were a lot of grey faces, they were very low ,which was understandable because of the respect they held him in."