Jonas Gutierrez says the players must take responsibility for Newcastle United’s plight – and fight to the last whistle to keep the Magpies in the Premier League.
Gutierrez and his team-mates take on West Ham at St James’s Park tomorrow, knowing only a win will guarantee top-flight survival.
We have to take responsibility for what is going on. Now we have to be togetherJonas Gutierrez
Newcastle, however, have taken just one point from their last 10 matches.
Third-bottom Hull are two points worse off, but if the Tigers beat Manchester United at the KC Stadium then a draw for Newcastle would send the Tynesiders down on goal difference.
Head coach John Carver has come under fire from angry fans given the injury and suspension-hit Magpies’ sorry recent record.
But Gutierrez – who experienced the pain of relegation with Newcastle in 2009 – says Carver can only do so much on the training field. And the Argentinian insists that the responsibility for results, ultimately, lies at the door of the players.
“We are the players on the pitch – we try to do the best,” said Gutierrez.
“John gives us the education to get the points.
“Then, on the pitch, we have to take responsibility for what is going on. Now we have to be together.”
Carver implored supporters to put their differences with him and owner Mike Ashley to one side for 90 minutes. He said there would be an “inquest” into this season’s failings once the last ball has been kicked.
And Gutierrez – who made an inspirational return to the field earlier this year after being given the all-clear following treatment for testicular cancer– agrees that now is NOT the time to apportion blame.
“I don’t like to think who is at fault,” he said. “We are the players that are on the pitch, and we have to think what we’re doing wrong and to change it.
“We have just one week, and we have to be focused.”
Meanwhile, Carver says the pain of Newcastle’s last relegation still haunts him – and his players, among them Gutierrez and skipper Fabricio Coloccini.
Carver spoke about their experiences at a team meeting early this week.
“I don’t think I’ll be asking the likes of Colo and Jonas to talk about the day at Villa specifically, but I did talk about their experiences in the meeting,” said Carver.
“They’ve experienced this. Ryan Taylor and Tim Krul were here as well, so they know what it feels like.
“I talked about their experiences, and how they had to deal with what came next, because it wasn’t nice.”
Newcastle take on a West Ham side managed by former St James’s boss Sam Allardyce, who insists he does not hold a grudge against the Tynesiders despite being sacked by Ashley in 2008.
The 60-year-old, who could be taking charge of the Hammers for the last time, insists he is only motivated by a desire to get his team to the 50-point mark on the final day of the season.
“It’s not about Newcastle for me,” said Allardyce.
“Some people have suggested I am all up for winning to try to send them down. I want to win it for West Ham because that’s where I work. I want to finish with a win away from home and finish with 50 points.”
When it was suggested that it was only “human nature” for him to want to win the Newcastle game more than others, he said: “It’s too far down the road for any of that stuff. It’s been a long time since we parted company.”