By North-east correspondent Harry Sykes
Alan Shearer has claimed that Newcastle’s 3-2 defeat at relegation rivals Norwich is a “killer blow” to their hopes of staying in the Premier League.
Rafael Benitez’s team twice came from behind at Carrow Road on Saturday afternoon in a thrilling clash but a stoppage-time winner from Martin Olsson secured the points for the home side.
The result moves the 17th-placed Canaries six points clear of the Magpies, who are 19th but have played one fewer game than Alex Neil’s team.
Newcastle legend Shearer says his old team face an uphill task to avoid nosediving into the Championship with just seven matches of the season remaining.
“It’s a hell of a lot to ask to claw back within seven games,” Shearer told Radio Five Live on Saturday evening. “It was a big ask with 10 games to go but it’s going to be a big, big ask now because that was a killer blow today.
‘I’m pretty certain if Rafa (Benitez) had been given more time if it might have been different.”
Shearer highlighted the team’s defensive frailties as their biggest weakness in a season in which their record of 58 goals conceded is the second-worst in the Premier League.
“When you defend as badly as Newcastle do, you’re always going to concede goals,” he told Radio Five. “You have to give credit to Norwich for the way they played but if you were a Newcastle fan like I was it was a bit edgy and disappointing.”
In other Newcastle news, an injured first-team star has given an update on how long he expects to be sidelined after surgery.