Georginio Wijnaldum says Newcastle United need to come together and play as a team – before it’s too late.
The Magpies are second-bottom in the Premier League, and six points adrift of safety, with half a dozen games left to play.
And Rafa Benitez’s side need to beat Swansea City at St James’s Park tomorrow to keep their faint hopes of top-flight survival alive.
Newcastle, beaten 3-1 by Southampton last weekend, have spent almost £80million in the last two transfer windows, and Wijnaldum believes there is enough “quality” in Benitez’s injury-hit squad.
But the midfielder feels that United are not working hard enough for each other – and that must change.
“We have quality in the team, but that’s not enough,” said Wijnaldum, signed from PSV Eindhoven last summer for £14.5million.
“You have to do it good as a team and all together.
“That’s the thing that we didn’t do (against Southampton).
“We have players with quality, but the most important thing is to be a good team and not good as players only.
“That’s the most important thing. As a team, you can win games.”
Asked about the contrast between this year and last season, when he skippered PSV Eindhoven to the Dutch Eredivisie title, the Holland international said: “It was a different situation.
“We won a lot. The confidence is always there, you’re helping each other.
“It it goes well, everyone feels good and enjoys it.
“When you enjoy football, you’re at your best.
“It’s a different situation now.
“There’s not a lot of confidence, so it’s harder to manage a team that doesn’t have confidence.
“Things will happen by themselves if you’re in good shape.
“Right now, it’s difficult.”
Wijnaldum – whose performances have come under increasing scrutiny in recent months – knows he must do better with and without the ball.
“I was playing as a central midfielder, not an attacking midfielder, but, still, I think I must create more chances in a game,” he said.
Newcastle face a change at right-back with Daryl Janmaat out injured.