Shearer disappointed by Barca ban

Last updated : 05 December 2002 By Martyn Elliott

He was suspended after appearing to elbow Inter’s Fabio Cannavaro and will miss the trips to Barcelona and Leverkusen.

Al told the Evening Chronicle: "Obviously I am devastated at missing out playing in Barcelona on Tuesday night.

"What makes it all the more annoying is that I also missed out the last time we played at the Nou Camp in the Champions League back in 1997 because of my ankle injury.

"I wasn't even allowed to go because I couldn't fly as my leg was still in plaster.

"But as far as I am concerned, the Inter Milan thing is now all in the past. It's a closed book and the most important thing is Saturday's game.

"I have always said that our Premiership games are more important than the Champions League and this is most definitely the case this weekend.

"In my view, we are in a similar situation to last season in that we are one of several teams chasing that third or fourth spot in the Premiership which could take us into next season's Champions League.

"So it is important that we don't slip up at Villa Park.

"It will be tough, as are all games against sides managed by Graham Taylor.

"I am a big fan of his and I know just how tough he will make it for us, especially as Villa have picked up and seem to be scoring goals for fun."

Am I the only person worried about the damage playing against Shearer and Bellamy in training might do to our defenders’ confidence before Tuesday?