Keegan: Newcastle not helped by fixtures

Kevin Keegan has told his Newcastle players not to worry about their poor start under his stewardship as they have had some "tough" opponents.

The Magpies head for Aston Villa on Saturday still awaiting their first victory four matches after the 56-year-old's arrival.

While that is a source of disappointment to Keegan as much as his squad, he believes the opener against Bolton and last weekend's derby clash with Middlesbrough, which sandwiched two visits to Arsenal inside four days,

represented a tough start.

Keegan said: "The reality is we know we have had a tough start.

"Boro was tough and so will Aston Villa be - and then we have got Manchester United. It is a tough league - but we have been here before.

"I am a realist and while we would have loved to have scored three or four goals in each game, reality tells me that wouldn't have happened.

"When you look at the nature of the teams we have played, you see that.

"Bolton were always going to make it difficult for us - but I thought we would win that game because the crowd were with us.

"But on the day, we just were not good enough.

"Then the two games against Arsenal, you knew it would be difficult to go there twice in four days and get anything, especially after they put their strongest side out in the cup."

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