Georginio Wijnaldum says Newcastle United’s players need to man up – before it’s too late.
The Magpies are in crisis ahead of tomorrow evening’s home game against Premier League champions Chelsea.
Newcastle have only beaten one team – League Two side Northampton – so far this season.
The Tynesiders were knocked out of the Capital One Cup on home turf in midweek by Sheffield Wednesday, with the Championship club fielding a virtualy reserve team in winning 1-0.
And Steve McClaren’s Newcastle side are second-bottom of the league with six games played ahead of the visit of Chelsea.
Midfielder Wijnaldum, one of the club’s four senior summer signings, feels the players must be “brave” enough to “play free”.
“We must stay positive, because if we don’t stay positive, it is going to go wrong, but we need men now out on the field,” said Wijnaldum.
“Players who want to work hard and give everything to get a good result. On top of that, I think we must play free.
“Sometimes I have the idea that we play with a lot of pressure on us because the results are not going well, but we must play free because then it is going to get better. I’m going to stay positive and I hope the rest of the team is going to stay positive also.
“Besides we must work hard and go on and, as I say, play free.
“I think that we must be more brave. We have quality, but we’re not showing it at the moment.
“We must work hard, and make things happen.”
Wijnaldum added: “I think Chelsea is a good opportunity to get a good result. That would give us a lot of confidence and faith in the team. If we beat them, it would give us a good step to build on for the next game (against Manchester City on October 3).”
Aleksandar Mitrovic is back from a three-match ban, while Newcastle are monitoring Papiss Cisse, Rolando Aarons, Massadio Haidara, Jack Colback and Karl Darlow, who missed the midweek cup tie, plus Daryl Janmaat, who was forced off through illness.
Mitrovic could go back into the starting XI if Cisse (back) fails to prove his fitness, though Ayoze Perez is another option.