Newcastle midfielder Kieron Dyer has been plunged into despair after his injury jinx hit again.
The 26-year-old England midfielder limped off 38 minutes into his side’s defeat by Manchester United with another hamstring problem just days after returning from a trip to see top German specialist Hans Mueller-Wohlfahrt with good news.
Dyer was told his persistent injuries could be the result of a back problem, but after a lacklustre display during which he looked far from comfortable, he trudged dejectedly from the pitch, seemingly back to square one.
“Kieron is very, very low at the moment because he cannot seem to get a run of games in the team injury-free,” said assistant boss Alan Murray, standing in for Graeme Souness at his post-match press conference.
“It is just a niggling thing in the back of his mind. If he gets five or six games under his belt, you will see a different Kieron Dyer.”
Souness desperately needs to see a different Kieron Dyer and a few other players to boot after his side slipped to their third defeat in four Barclays Premiership games this season and extended the period since one of their players found the back of the net in a league game to 555 minutes.
But if they were abject in defeat at Bolton on Wednesday night, they made a game of it, for a short spell even after the departures of Dyer and summer signing Emre, who also aggravated a hamstring injury as their manager’s double gamble backfired.
Lee Bowyer lasted only until the 55th minute before joining the casualties, but as the pressure mounted, Newcastle finally cracked.
Souness invested £8m (€11.7m) of the £30m (€43.4m) he has spent in his 12 months on Tyneside in French defender Jean-Alain Boumsong, but it was he who was found wanting as Manchester United forced their way in front.
The former Rangers player inexplicably allowed an Edwin van der Sar clearance to bounce in front of him and gift Wayne Rooney the chance to fire his side ahead on 66 minutes, and then failed to cut out the England star’s injury-time cross to hand Ruud van Nistelrooy the easiest of chances to wrap things up.
Murray admitted that Boumsong’s blunders had cost his side dear, but was able to take plenty of positives out of the game.
“There were lots of positives,” he said. “Up until we lost our key players, I thought we matched Manchester United, certainly for the first half.
“There were some excellent things and lots of positives to take out of it, but we have not really been able to keep our best team on the pitch, and that told in the end.”
Souness and chairman Freddy Shepherd will continue their search for reinforcements as the closure of the transfer window looms, but United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has no such worries.
“Our second goal was a great example for any person who wants to get to the very top,” he told Sky Sports. “Wayne (Rooney) has a fantastic work ethic.
“It was not a great performance, but we were determined in the defensive part of our game, our goalkeeper was excellent and we had a solid look about us.”