Date: 30th December 2005 at 1:02pm
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Newcastle boss Graeme Souness has defended himself in the face of a withering attack by West Ham counterpart Alan Pardew. The Hammers manager had accused the Scot of being disrespectful to his players following the Magpies’ 4-2 win at Upton Park earlier this month describing him as talking ‘complete nonsense’.

Souness replied: ‘At the end of the game he shook my hand. If he was upset with me, maybe he should have said something then, but he chose not to.

‘There’s one important part of the sentence missing: when I’d said their centre-halves were scared, they were scared of Michael Owen’s pace, so that bit’s missing – and I would say the same about most centre-halves.’

Pardew had hit out at the Magpies boss saying: ‘The one thing I hate about other managers is waffle that is nowhere near the truth. I would never conduct myself like that. My honest assessment of the Newcastle game is that we were great and, but for a few errors that were clinically punished by Michael Owen, we would have won with a bit to spare.

‘Standing on the side watching our team outplay and outmanoeuvre Newcastle, and listening to the comments coming from their bench and the frustration of how the game was unfolding, it was ironic to hear Graeme Souness say afterwards that our two centre-halves were scared.

‘I thought that was complete nonsense. He should have known better than to criticise players on the opposite team.’