Georginio Wijnaldum says Newcastle United’s players need to man up – before it’s too late.
The club is in crisis ahead of tomorrow evening’s home game against Premier League champions Chelsea.
Newcastle have only beaten one team – League Two Northampton Town – so far this season.
The club was knocked out of the Capital One Cup on home turf in midweek by Sheffield Wednesday, with the Championship club’s reserve team having won 1-0.
And Steve McClaren’s side are second-bottom of the league with six games played ahead of the visit of Chelsea.
Midfielder Wijnaldum, one of the club’s four senior summer signings, feels the players must be “brave” enough to “play free”.
“We must stay positive, because if we don’t stay positive, it is going to go wrong, but we need men now out on the field,” said Wijnaldum.
“Players who want to work hard and give everything to get a good result.
“On top of that I think we must play free.
“Sometimes I have the idea that we play with a lot of pressure on us because the results are not going well but we must play free because then it is going to get better.
“I’m going to stay positive and I hope the rest of the team is going to stay positive also.
“Besides we must work hard and go on and as I say, play free.
“I think that we must be more brave.
“Like I said, we must play free. Play football and work hard on the field.
“We can control our performance, so we must work hard to make that good.”
Asked to expand on his comment about “playing free”, Wijnaldum added: “What I say is sometimes I have a feeling that we play with a lot of pressure because the results are not good.
“But in the difficult times you have in football you it’s not always going good, and especially at the moment when it is not going well we must play free and show our quality.
“I think we have quality, but we’re not showing it at the moment.
“I think we must work hard on the field, and as I say play free and make things happen on the field.”
Wijnaldum felt Newcastle only “woke up” after Carlos Carvalhal’s Wednesday side took the lead at St James’s Park through a 76th-minute Lewis McGugan strike.
“I don’t think we played well – we didn’t create a lot of chances,” said the 24-year-old.
“They scored in the second-half with I think a long ball and we didn’t defend it well in the box.
“After that I think we woke up and started to create some chances, but of course we are disappointed because we played against a team who are in a lower division and everybody expected us to win but it didn’t happen.”
Wijnaldum, a title-winner with PSV Eindhoven last season, still believes results with come – with hard work.
“I’m sure about that ,because I train everyday with the team and of course we are a team that must learn more because we are a new team,” he said.
“I think that’s not an excuse because in the first weeks you must work hard to get results and that’s what we’re not doing right now so we must work hard to get results.”
Chelsea, meanwhile, started the season poorly, but Jose Mourinho’s side have won their last three games.
Wijnaldum, however, feels the game is a “good opportunity” to quickly gain some confidence.
“I think Chelsea is a good opportunity to get a good result,” said the Holland international. “That would give us a lot of confidence and faith in the team.
“If we beat them, it would give us a good step to build on for the next game (against Manchester City on October 3).
“We are in a difficult situation because we are losing games.
“Football is always difficult when you are losing, because you lose confidence, but you must keep faith in yourself and each other and help each other out.”