Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: Duff's Frustrated as United Slip Up; Winger Pleased to Be Back in Side but Angry at Defeat

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: Duff's Frustrated as United Slip Up; Winger Pleased to Be Back in Side but Angry at Defeat

Article excerpt

Byline: STUART RAYNER

DAMIEN Duff admitted to being "surprised" at being unable to mark his Newcastle United comeback with three points, writes STUART RAYNER.

The Irish winger made his first appearance of the season as a substitute against Derby County on Sunday and started the Boxing Day game at Wigan.

The Magpies were many people's favourites to win both games against teams then in the relegation zone (Wigan's 1-0 win propelled them out of it), but claimed just one point.

Duff, who saw his team win at Fulham through Joey Barton's lastminute penalty, had expected the 1-0 victory to kick-start his side's form in time for his return from a dislocated foot.

"It's great to be back albeit to two disappointing results," said the 28-year-old Republic of Ireland international winger. "With all due respect to Derby and Wigan, we should be beating teams like that.

"We're gutted and surprised because we thought we'd turned the corner with some good results. But that's been the story of our season, we turn things around then suffer a poor result."

Newcastle's next opponents are Chelsea, who sold Duff to them 18 months ago. The Londoners have not lost a domestic game since Arsenal defeated them 2-1 in a Premier League clash 46 months ago, a match Duff did not feature in.

But after such a dismal display at Wigan, Duff argued it was important to put on a show for the fans who were vocal in their exasperation with the team and its style of play at the JJB Stadium.

"It'll be nice to go back (to Chelsea) but it doesn't matter who we're playing this weekend - we have to come out fighting and give it a good go for ourselves and the fans," he said.

Duff's appearance against Derby was his first since facing Portsmouth in mid-April and he admitted it was a relief just to be back on the field again, albeit in such miserable circumstances. …

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