Date: 3rd December 2008 at 7:40pm
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Following a raft of four and fives out of ten and many people voicing disapproval at Owen not being subbed ahead of Martins, Joe Kinnear has ramped up on the offensive, no doubt attempting to prove to Michael that we really do want him to stay at the club. A brusque gaffer quipped:

‘I thought some of the comments about Michael Owen’s display were a bit out of order and well over the top. Michael had a quiet game by his high standards, but the coaching staff on the bench could see how hard he was working, and we felt that he did a lot of unselfish running for the team.

This was backed up when we had a look at the video after the game, studied each individual performance, and saw what Owen had done. Our big regret at Middlesbrough was that none of the chances we created came Michael’s way, but this wasn’t necessarily his fault. He kept running into goal-scoring positions, but he just never got the ball, and this is something we have to work on.’