Mikel Merino delivers his verdict on Newcastle’s alarming slump

Newcastle United midfielder Mikel Merino.
Newcastle United midfielder Mikel Merino.

Mikel Merino says Newcastle United’s players “can’t lose their minds” as they look to stop an alarming slump.

Rafa Benitez’s side, beaten 3-2 at home on Saturday, have taken just one point from their last seven games.

We know we’ve lost again, and we’re not going through a good period, but we have to make sure we don’t lose our minds.

Mikel Merino

Newcastle are now just two points above the Premier League’s relegation zone ahead of Wednesday night’s home game against Everton.

Leicester claimed all three points thanks to a late own goal from Ayoze Perez.

“It was a disappointing result for us,” said 21-year-old Merino.

“We have to think positive. We have another match.

“We did a lot of good things. We managed the second half mostly with our possession and intensity, but we must keep improving and the results will come.”

Benitez has bemoaned a series of mistakes during the club’s losing run.

Asked what was going wrong for United, Merino said: “The other teams can play. The other teams are good individually.

“We’re having some mistakes in small things. The team did some things good, but the goals we conceded weren’t perfect.

“We have to believe in ourselves and keep going.

“If we keep going with our efforts and the fans see that, like (against Leicester) they saw a united team, a family, playing football, and all together we will do things.”

Benitez hopes to strengthen his squad in next month’s transfer window.

However, United’s manager doesn’t yet know if he will have any money to spend given that the club is for sale.

“Our squad’s perfect for Premier League,” said Merino, signed from Borussia Dortmund in the summer.

“All the players here are capable. I believe in each one and that this team is a great team.

“We know we’ve lost again, and we’re not going through a good period, but we have to make sure we don’t lose our minds.

“We have shown this season that we’re a good team with good players when we were higher up the table.

“We don’t need to change everything because of five bad results. We have to be strong.”

Supporters are concerned that the club is facing another relegation battle.

Midfielder Merino added: “The league has started, a lot of games have passed.

“We have to think about the next match. Nothing beyond that.

“We’re disappointed. We know that we could have won this game.

“We know we have to give more than we are giving.

“The good things are that we have the chances to do it.

“We have another match. We’re all together and we will carry on.

“It’s hard sometimes. Football’s about momentum.

“You will have good periods of momentum and bad periods.

“Now we’re in a difficult period, but we have to carry on, and I’m sure the moment we win one match, then a lot more will follow.”

Everton, now managed by Sam Allardyce, are three points ahead of United in 10th place.

Spain Under-21 international Merino said: “We have another chance to be ourselves, and we will do our best to win this match.”