Shearer praises forward progress

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Newcastle boss Alan Shearer saluted his little and large strike-force after seeing them pave the way for a priceless victory over Middlesbrough.

Boro old boy Mark Viduka and substitute Obafemi Martins, a 70th-minute replacement for skipper Michael Owen, played the pivotal roles in a win which dragged the Magpies out of the Barclays Premier League relegation zone and gave them genuine hope of survival.

Shearer said of Viduka: "He was brilliant. Everything we put into him, it stuck. I looked at it even with 10 minutes left and I was thinking to myself, 'He has still got the energy to cause them problems'."

He added: "A fit Mark Viduka and more matches and he can produce a performance like that.

"That's why the medical side and the fitness side have worked very hard too get him fit, because when he plays like that, he is very difficult to handle.

"I know what he can do."

Shearer was rewarded for his substitutions when Martins and Peter Lovenkrands each struck within the final 19 minutes to win a game from which their side could afford to take nothing less than three points.

Habib Beye's unfortunate own goal had given the Teessiders a third-minute lead, but Steven Taylor levelled within six minutes, and that is how the scoreline remained until Martins' introduction.

Shearer said: "Someone said to me when I took over, 'You are better being a lucky manager than a good one'.

"When you put someone on, you are asking them to make an impact, but you don't think it is going to happen after 55 seconds, or something like that. They made a difference, both Oba and Peter and contributed as well as the rest of the guys did."

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Steven Taylor
Habib Beye
Michael Owen
Premier League
Newcastle United
Alan Shearer
Obafemi Martins
Peter Lovenkrands
Mark Viduka

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