Mike Williamson believes Newcastle fans are justified in their anger following the club's 4-0 home defeat to Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday. "We've let the manager down, we've let the club down, we've let the fans down and we've let ourselves down," said the centre half.
Everybody can have a bad day at the office but the worry for Alan Pardew is that the Spurs debacle represented his team's third straight defeat, a sequence in which Newcastle conceded 10 goals. Even worse, they have not scored a goal since returning from a warm weather training camp in Abu Dhabi last month, have not won at home since Boxing Day and have managed only one victory in nine games.
Newcastle remain ninth but Pardew will not want to contemplate the possible consequences of losing the next fixture at St James' Park, against Aston Villa, on Sunday week.
Williamson said the manager had "torn into us" following the surrender to Spurs. "There needed to be some harsh words," said the defender. "He felt it wasn't good enough from us. It might have come across to the fans that there was no heart and that's a disappointing thing.
"We have players missing out the moment, a lot of quality missing but the fact is that we need the fight and the spirit as well as the quality. For the next week and a half we're going to have to work on that and make sure we react well.
"Sometimes, the fans can be a little bit unfair but you can't say that over the past few games. They are justified. We completely understand their anger, their upset. Believe me, the players are feeling exactly the same. The lads are hurting. Now it is all about making sure we can convey our spirit and fight against Villa when we've got to bounce back."
The loss and lack of replacement for their former playmaker Yohan Cabaye (who moved to Paris Saint-Germain for £20m in January) has hit a team which entertained European ambitions before Christmas extremely hard.
Loïc Rémy's recent suspension along with injuries to Fabricio Coloccini and Cheik Tioté have not helped Pardew's cause as Newcastle's manager struggles to adjust histeam's formation and calibration.
Even so high-calibre individuals such as Moussa Sissoko, Davide Santon, Steven Taylor, Hatem Ben Arfa, Papiss Cissé and Tim Krul have all underachieved in recent weeks.
This mid-season slump has prompted Pardew to cancel plans to give his squad – who are out of the FA Cup – a few days off ahead of the Villa game.
"Sometimes, it can be good for players to get away and forget about things but there are other times when it's good to get back to the training ground, get back to the drawing board and work hard, back to basics," Williamson said.
"That's what the manager has decided here and rightly so. We can have no complaints. It's fully justified."