Newcastle United defender Fabricio Coloccini insisted the Premier League strugglers cannot afford to be relegated for a second time in six years.
Newcastle are bottom of the Premier League table on goal difference after eight matches, losing five and drawing three as pressure mounts on manager Steve McClaren.
The Tyneside club were relegated in 2008-09, having finished 18th, though they came back up the following year as Championship winners.
Coloccini was one of the players who stayed at Newcastle that season and the 33-year-old admits they cannot suffer the same fate again.
“In that season we started better, then had bad times in the middle of the season,” Coloccini told the Mirror.
“Four managers. This time we have enough time to turn this around. We’ll finish strongly.
“To go down was very, very hard. But it helped the club to start again. We rebuilt everything.
“But this time we can’t afford to go down. This club has to be in the Premier League.”
Newcastle will be looking to secure their first league win when they host Norwich City on Sunday, before facing their rivals Sunderland – second-bottom on goal difference – the following week.
“Now is when we start our league,” he said. “We need points. It doesn’t matter playing well or bad.
“We need a win. We need characters and confidence.”
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