No mystery about Bellamy absence

Last updated : 27 December 2002 By Martyn Elliott

Supporters were surprised to see Shola Ameobi starting with Bellamy on the bench at the Reebok Stadium, but Sir Bobby explained that following his much publicised knee problems the Welshman wanted a rest.

"Craig asked to be left out so that he would be fresh for the games against Tottenham and Liverpool," he said after the defeat.

"There was no point bringing on a player who was saving himself for Sunday when we were already 4-1 down."

Sir Bobby is believed to be unhappy with the striker’s decision, but of more concern to him will be the fact that our results without Bellamy just aren’t good enough.

Coming just days after Sir Alex Ferguson suggested that we could have won the Premiership last season if Bellamy had stayed fit, the 4-3 defeat is just another example of what an important player he is to us.

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