Alan Pardew admits Newcastle United are in a relegation battle after their second worst start to an English Premier League season 10 years.
Newcastle have just 14 points from 14 matches played – the last time they boasted such a poor tally at this stage of the season was back 2008/09, the season they were relegated.
And with matches against both Manchester clubs coming up, along with a trip to Arsenal and the visit of Everton to St James’ Park, things do not look likely to get any easier for Pardew’s men.
Asked if it was too early to say his side were being pushed into a relegation battle, the Newcastle boss said: “Well, we are now, and no, it’s not too early.”
But despite the difficult position the team find themselves in, Pardew believes they have what it takes to end their poor run of form.
“We can’t bury our head in the sand, and we have to get wins to get out of it,” he said.
“Actually, I’m so buoyed by the performance (at Stoke), and by the fact that the things we have changed, the things we’ve done, have definitely helped the team.
“The team have responded to them. Hopefully, we can take that forward.”
Midfielder Cheikh Tiote shares his manager’s frustrations, but insists that if he and his team-mates match the level of performance shown against Stoke, positive results will not be far away.
“Everyone is very disappointed,” he said.
“This is so difficult for the team to take, but we were much brighter against Stoke than we have been recently and had more energy on the pitch.
“If you play well like we did then we will get three points again very soon.”
Newcastle’s next match is at home to Wigan Athletic on Monday.