Isaac Hayden launches passionate defence of Newcastle's players after fans vent frustrations
Isaac Hayden says Newcastle United's players are leaving everything on the pitch.
Hayden and his team-mates kick off the New Year with a game against Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium this afternoon.
Newcastle were held to a goalless draw at St James’s Park by Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.
And there were some boos at the final whistle from fans frustrated that United hadn’t been able to overcome Chris Hughton’s side.
Hayden returned to the starting XI against Brighton after recovering from a minor injury.
Brighton had the upper hand for long spells, but Newcastle pushed hard for a winner in the last 15 minutes.
The midfielder said: “The last three games, you can’t question the commitment, as you haven’t been able to all season.
“Everyone leaves everything out there on the pitch – we never leave the pitch with regrets.
“The Premier League, for me, is the best league in the world, and the players in it are top drawer.
“Sometimes, it can be one mistake or one amazing piece of skill like the world-class Arsenal goal we conceded, and that’s the game done.
“Games are decided on fine margins, and it’s important we push the margin back towards us rather than against us.”
A year ago, United were leading the Championship.
Hayden, signed from Arsenal in the summer of 2016, was a key figure in the club’s title-winning season.
And the 22-year-old is hopeful that Newcastle can push on up the Premier League table in the second half of the season.
Hayden said: “If you asked anyone connected with Newcastle United on January 1 (last year) that we’d be standing here at the end of the year, in the position we’re in, everyone would have bitten your hand off.
“We’ve seen how difficult it is to get out of the Championship for the teams that have been relegated this season, with Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Hull.
“It’s not easy to get out of that division, but we did that and then we had a good start to the season in the Premier League.
“Yes, we’ve had a couple of bad months, but we’re a young group in the Premier League, and we’re still learning and getting better.
“I’m sure in the second half of the season, you’ll see a better Newcastle United.
“The Premier League’s a tight league – it’s completely different to any other league in the world.
“There are a lot of games that are very tight. Look at the Everton game that could have gone either way, or Brighton away at the start of the season, Burnley away or Bournemouth at home. If we’d won all of those, we would have had a hell of a lot of points. All the games are going to be tight.”