GRAEME Souness has never divulged his musical tastes since taking over at Newcastle but, judging by his demeanour ahead of tomorrow's FA Cup quarter-final with Tottenham, it is safe to assume that he relates to the Rolling Stones. Just like Mick and Keith, the Scot "can't get no satisfaction".

After suffering a fraught start to his time on Tyneside, Souness could be forgiven for displaying a degree of contentment given everything that has happened since the turn of the year.

One defeat in ten domestic games has taken the Magpies to within 90 minutes of a Cardiff semi-final in the FA Cup and revived hopes of the top-six finish that would provide European qualification via the league.

Things have been even better on the continent, with Thursday night's sensational 3-1 win at Olympiacos all but guaranteeing Newcastle of their place in the last eight of the UEFA Cup for the second season in a row.

But, rather than basking in the warm glow of success, Souness remains as unfulfilled as ever.

His time at Liverpool clearly taught him many things, but chief among them is a recognition that victory, however sweet, is a transitory force.

Thursday's win in Athens will count for nothing if Newcastle slip up tomorrow, while a win against Spurs would be forgotten if United followed up with a Greek tragedy on Wednesday.

Souness' side have won nothing yet and, while victory tomorrow would leave them a giant stride nearer Newcastle's first major trophy in 36 years, he has seen enough to know that there is still a long way to go before he can start patting anybody on the back.

"I'm never happy," revealed Souness, who amazingly never won the FA Cup during almost a decade of unparalleled playing success with Liverpool. "I don't think you can ever be happy in football.

"There were things in Athens which pleased me - I thought we were disciplined and defended well - but I'm one of those people who can never rest on what has happened yesterday. I don't think you can ever be entirely happy with your team.

"When I was manager at Liverpool, Tom Saunders was there. He had been Joe Fagan's right-hand man, Kenny's right-hand man and then my right-hand man. He was someone you could lean on.

"Bob Paisley used to stand at the window and look out onto the training ground. We had to run past that window and we were all aware of him watching us.

"When I went back as manager, I said to Tom 'Was he ever happy with the team when he stood there and watched us?'

"Even when we had just won the European Cup, he was not happy. He was always thinking 'He's not good enough, we can get someone better than him'. And we won the title year after year."

Nevertheless, Souness has successfully silenced the doubters who were questioning the wisdom of his appointment when Newcastle went six league games without a win at the end of last year.

A side who were struggling for consistency and shipping goals left, right and centre suddenly look like a cohesive unit able to match their playing style to the occasion and opposition in hand.

Jean-Alain Boumsong and Titus Bramble look increasingly assured at the back, Amdy Faye and the fit-again Nicky Butt have added options in midfield, while Patrick Kluivert seems to have rediscovered both his form and his desire in partnership with the evergreen Alan Shearer in attack.

But, while all of these factors have coalesced to produce a pronounced turnaround in form, Souness has highlighted his side's willingness to work as they key factor in their recent renaissance.

"The players now have a bit of confidence," said the Magpies manager. "They now feel that they can take people on. So the job now is to keep them on their toes and stop them from thinking they are a good team.

"If we're not at it, we won't win (against Spurs). If we go into this game suddenly thinking we're a good team, we won't win.

"They are only a good team because they are working as hard, if not harder, than the opposing players. They have to do that on Sunday.

"That's the key to any good team - you have got to be prepared to work as hard as the team you are playing against."

Tottenham proved they were willing to work when they beat Sir Bobby Robson's Newcastle 1-0 at St James' in August.

Since then, the London side have been as inconsistent as the Magpies but, like their North-East hosts, they will be going into tomorrow's game on something of a high.

Tottenham's formidable FA Cup pedigree means they are always a danger in the latter stages of the competition. They have won the competition eight times, with one success coming in 1967 - less than a year before Souness began his footballing career at White Hart Lane.

The Scot joined Spurs as an apprentice after Dave MacKay, who was nursing a broken leg at the time, watched a schoolboy match in which a youthful Souness helped Scotland run their English opponents ragged.

He played just one first-team game for the club - a UEFA Cup tie in Reykjavik in which he came off the bench for Martin Peters - but retains a soft spot for the team that offered him a route into the professional game.

"It was a special club for me," revealed Souness. "I had four-and-a-half-years there learning what the professional game is all about.

"I was just a reserve-team player but I learned a lot from all the big players at the time. When I first went there, Dave Mackay was there and Jimmy Greaves was there as well.

"I went to the same school as Dave Mackay and, whenever I got into trouble with the headmaster, he would tell me 'You will never be as good as Dave Mackay'.

"I have seen Dave several times since then and reminded him of that comment."

The current Spurs side cannot boast a Dave Mackay, but the depth of their striking talent means Souness is likely to recall Boumsong to the starting line-up in place of Andy O'Brien.

Celestine Babayaro is still struggling with a knee problem, while Lee Bowyer is likely to be restored to the midfield after missing out in Greece.

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