NEWCASTLE boss Graeme Souness believes his side did not deserve to lose at Carrow Road last night.

United crashed to a last-gasp Dean Ashton winner moments after it looked as if Patrick Kluivert had stolen a share of the spoils.

The defeat was the Magpies' fourth consecutive loss and means they have not won on their travels since a 2-0 victory at Crystal Palace in November.

Newcastle can maybe count themselves unlucky on last night's showing and had Alan Shearer converted from four yards in the 21st minute and Robert Green not brilliantly stopped Laurent Robert's volley moments later then it would have been the Magpies who flew home happier than the Canaries.

"It was hard on us tonight," said Souness. "I don't think we deserved to lose. But you have to give Norwich credit, they kept going right until the end."

After two unconvincing displays in Lisbon to Sporting in the UEFA Cup, and at Cardiff against Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final, Newcastle at least gave their travelling supporters a battling performance - something missing in the last month.

"We have had a hard week of football," added the United boss. "At Cardiff on Sunday we turned up and we were a shadow of a team. We deserved to get nothing and got nothing.

"Tonight we played a bit of a makeshift team and I think we played some decent stuff. We've lost a game we shouldn't have lost and we are feeling sorry for ourselves right now.

"I thought we were very comfortable and, apart from the first 15 minutes in the second-half, we passed the ball around very well.

"I'm sure I've experienced a week like this but I can't tell you when it was."

Souness acknowledged that when it isn't your night you just don't get the breaks. This was evident when the ball fell at the feet of United's skipper midway through the first-half.

"If you want chances to drop to anyone you want them to drop to him (Shearer)", said Souness. "He's tried to place it when maybe he should have just got some power behind it.

"He would score nine times out of ten in that situation but that sums up our night.

United now face last week's FA Cup conquerors Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Souness said: "We have another easy game against Manchester United on Sunday!"

* Injury-plagued Real Madrid defender Jonathan Woodgate will not make a full recovery from the troublesome thigh injury that has marred his time in Spain until the start of next season, according to the doctor who operated on him.

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