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Man Utd will be hoping to get back on the winning trail this Sunday against Aston Villa – a side they’ve only lost once to in their last 25 head-to-heads.

Alan Shearer admits he has taken on a ‘massive job’ as he looks to save Newcastle from relegation in the final eight games of the season.

Shearer was giving his first press conference since his appointment as acting Newcastle boss, and he acknowledged that the club has a fight on its hands if it is to preserve its Premier League status.

Magpies boss Joe Kinnear continues to recuperate from his major heart surgery and the club have slipped into the bottom three, in his absence with Chris Hughton and Colin Calderwood have been in charge.

Former England captain Shearer is Newcastle’s all-time leading scorer having notched 206 goals in 404 appearances during his 10-year playing career on Tyneside.

Shearer took his first training session on Thursday morning when he met his new squad for the first time and was delighted with the reaction of the players.

“The response has been fantastic,” he said. “I’ve gone in this morning and seen all the players, spoke to them, spoke to the staff and the training was superb.

“They’ve set a standard this morning that we want them to keep to. If they keep that standard up, keep that determination up, then I think we’ll be OK, I really do.

“We’ve got a massive fight on our hands, we know that, it’s a massive job to be done in very, very difficult circumstances, but we’ll face it head on.”

Shearer has pledged to the club’s supporters, who worshipped him as a player, that he will give his all in his first managerial appointment.

He said: “I think they (the fans) know me as well as anyone does. They know that they will get 100 per cent 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I hope that will be good enough, I really do.

“It would sadden me and it would sadden the thousands and thousands of people who support this football club if it were in the Championship. They don’t deserve that, they deserve better.

“The powers that be have admitted that mistakes have been made this season and we would all agree with that.

“It is important that whatever mistakes have been made, they’ve gone. We can’t do anything about it.

“We’re third bottom of the league. Whether that is because of bad luck, bad play, low confidence, refereeing decisions, it doesn’t matter. That’s gone, it’s history, we can’t do anything about it.

“What we can do something about is as of now, for the remaining eight games.”

Man Utd will be hoping to get back on the winning trail this Sunday against Aston Villa – a side they’ve only lost once to in their last 25 head-to-heads.

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