Georginio Wijnaldum has warned his Newcastle United team-mates that they must ‘wake up’ quickly as they sleep walk towards relegation.
Newcastle jetted out to Spain for a warm weather training break earlier this week after slipping into the bottom three of the Premier League following Saturday’s 5-1 thumping at Chelsea.
We have to change it, and we must wake upGeorginio Wijnaldum
The Magpies’ situation is becoming increasingly precarious with just 12 games to go this season.
Despite showing some decent form at St James’s Park, 10 defeats on their travels this campaign has left them fighting for their lives at the bottom.
Wijnaldum is one of the players whose form away from home hasn’t been of the same standard as when he plays on Tyneside, with the club’s leading scorer having bagged all his goals at St James’s.
And with a trip to Stoke City awaiting Newcastle when they return to Premier League action, Wijnaldum is demanding the Chelsea defeat be a final wake-up call for the players.
Asked if the away form is killing their season, he said: “It is yeah, it is obvious unfortunately.
“I don’t know what it is. That’s what the stats are, away from home we don’t win games.
“Yes, we have to change it, and we must wake up.”
Newcastle have an 18-day gap between the Chelsea defeat and the Stoke game on March 2, with the Magpies not playing this weekend because they’ve been knocked out of the FA Cup, and then facing another blank weekend after their game against Manchester City was postponed due to their opponents reaching the Capital One Cup final that same day.
It means relegation rivals Swansea, Sunderland and Norwich will all have played twice more by the time United return to action.
Wijnaldum admits the combination of a thumping defeat, points picked up by teams around them and the gap between games couldn’t have come at a worse time for the club.
“It makes it worse than it already was because we lost 5-1 and we’re back in the bottom three,” the Dutchman said.
“Last week we won a game and we had a lot of confidence that we can have a good match against Chelsea but we didn’t. It’s disappointing.”
The timing of Newcastle’s trip to Spain has angered some fans, but Wijnaldum says the players will be working hard while in La Manga, trying to put right their poor season.
And with a friendly against Norweigan side Lillestrom on Saturday, it is a good chance for them to work on aspects of their play.
“We always have to work hard because we are a team who are not winning enough games easily,” he added.
“We have to work hard and that’s what we’re going to do in Spain, as always.”