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Souness said: "Gary Speed has done a wonderful job at this club in years gone by and I think Nicky Butt will do it in the future.
"If you look at our results since Nicky has gone out they have been poor."
Former Blackburn boss Souness admits that he has been asked what the difference is between this year and last year as regards the Newcastle team.
He added: "I have maybe an over-inflated opinion about how important a good central defensive midfield player is because that is where I played.
"I think frustrating is the word I have used more than any other word in my time here."