Date: 21st January 2006 at 12:23pm
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The relationship between manager and chairman is not as cast-iron as Graeme Souness had us believe. Freddy has put a block on money for players, and he has told Souness that injuries are no longer an excuse for failure.

The truth of the matter, like it or not, is United are nearer a relegation battle than a European push – eight points from sixth top and only four points above Middlesbrough, who are on the very brink of the relegation pack. No team, not even the stranded Sunderland, have lost more away matches than Newcastle’s eight.

However, Souness has hit back at Shepherd and he was not a happy man having to defend himself.

‘The reason we’re not winning games is because we haven’t got our best players on the football pitch,’ said Souness. ‘That’s not an excuse. It’s a fact. It’s a reason, not an excuse. I think people have to understand that.’