Georginio Wijnaldum says he’s baffled at the nerves that are crippling Newcastle United on the pitch.
Rafa Benitez’s side were beaten 3-1 by Southampton on Saturday.
We know if we play without confidence, and if you’re nervous, it’s going to be not good. You’re going to play bad. Why not give your best and try to change things?Georginio Wijnaldum
And the result at the St Mary’s Stadium left the second-bottom club in even deeper trouble with six Premier League games left to play.
Newcastle again started poorly – Shane Lone gave Southampton the lead in the fourth minute – and Benitez was furious at the “terrible” mistakes which blighted his team’s first-half performance.
Nine-goal leading scorer Wijnaldum – whose own form has dipped alarmingly since the turn of the year – felt United only had themselves to blame given their “nervousness”.
“I don’t understand why we’re nervous,” said Wijnaldum, one of only two players to speak after the match.
“We’re in a situation now where we’re second-bottom of the league.
“We know if we play without confidence, and if you’re nervous, it’s going to be not good. You’re going to play bad.
“Why not give your best and try to change things?
“That’s something I don’t understand.
“It’s not the first game that this has happened.
“It’s difficult to win a game in this situation.
“The way they make the goals, it doesn’t look like they have to try their best to score.
“It’s very disappointing. It’s always disappointing if you lose a game, but we lost it without confidence.”
Newcastle’s defence was again exposed at the St Mary’s Stadium, with Steven Taylor and Daryl Janmaat having made errors for the first two goals.
“We conceded in the fourth minute,” said Wijnaldum. “That’s not good.
“The way we’re giving the goals away is not good.
“It looks like they don’t even have to try their best to score a goal.”
Benitez had named an attack-minded starting XI, but Long’s goal saw the team spend the first half on the back foot.
“You always want to start the game good,” said midfielder Wijnaldum, who won the Dutch title with PSV last season.
“If you start the game well, it will give you confidence.
“We’re in a situation now where it is difficult to change the game, especially when you go behind.
“We did it against a lot of teams, but now it’s a difficult situation.
“There’s no confidence and you’re nervous. If you go behind in the fourth minute, it’s hard to change it.”
Wijnaldum – whose as a central midfielder against Southampton – admits Newcastle, six points adrift of safety, are fast running out of games.
Anything other than a win over Swansea City at St James’s Park on Saturday would leave the club with a seemingly impossible task in the final weeks of a troubled campaign.
Asked if he believed the club could still stay up, the Holland international said: “Yes, of course.
As long as there is a chance to stay up, you must believe.
“It’s difficult. We don’t have the results we want and the results that give you confidence.
“I agree with him (Benitez) that we must keep the faith and try to get the confidence that we can survive.
“But it has to start now. We have six games to go, and that’s not a lot.”
Meanwhile, Newcastle’s Under-21s take on Brighton and Hove Albion at St James’s Park tonight (7pm kick-off) in the final game of their campaign. Peter Beardsley’s side were beaten 3-1 by Arsenal on Friday night.