By Declan Taylor

Arsène Wenger expects Alan Shearer’s appointment as Newcastle manager to provide “mental doping” for the Magpies’ relegation scrap.

On April Fool’s Day it was announced that Newcastle’s all-time leading goalscorer would take over the reigns at St James’ Park until the end of the season. Wenger, for one, can see nothing foolish about the decision.

Speaking at Friday’s pre-match press conference, the manager explained why Shearer’s deific status among the Toon Army can provide a timely boost both on and off the pitch.

“He is a very popular choice and it’s a little bit of mental doping for the whole Newcastle area,” said the Frenchman. “It will give them belief and hope again. 

“He can help to give them that fraction of belief again to help them win games. To transform a team in eight games, that is not a manager anymore, that is a magician. 

“Having played at Newcastle recently, they have a good side that looks capable of getting out of a relegation battle but they will be in it now until the last game of the season.

“But what a manager can do in the short term is work on the mental side and give them a psychological lift and on the tactical side, work on short term tactics because he has his own ideas.

“To transform a club takes much longer. But he can have a positive influence on the psychological and mental side certainly.”

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 3 Apr 2009