Andros Townsend has labelled Newcastle United’s perilous position “crazy” – and vowed to give his all to get the club out of it.
Rafa Benitez’s second-bottom side are seemingly heading for the Championship after a 3-2 defeat to Norwich City.
Newcastle were beaten by an injury-time strike from Martin Olsson at Carrow Road.
And the club, which face Southampton at the St Mary’s Stadium on Saturday, is now SIX points adrift of Premier League safety with seven games left to play.
Townsend – who set up the first of Aleksandar Mitrovic’s two goals at Carrow Road – joined United in January hoping to cement his place in England coach Roy Hodgson’s plans for Euro 2016.
But the winger’s only concern now is keeping the club in the top flight.
“For me, it’s mad we are where we are,” said the £12million signing.
“For me, we’ve got an incredible squad, full of internationals in almost every position. It’s crazy that we’re in the position we’re in.
“But it’s up to everybody else to judge why that’s happened.
“I’m not thinking about England at all – my focus is on Newcastle’s last seven games. All I’m thinking about is Newcastle staying in the Premier League.”
Newcastle were backed by more than 2,600 fans in Norfolk. And Townsend, signed from Tottenham Hotspur, is adamant that the players DO care about the club’s plight as much as the long-suffering supporters who follow them up and down the country.
“It’s our livelihood that’s at stake,” said the 24-year-old.
“You see the fans out there and see how passionate they are, and we’re desperate to give them something to cheer about.
“We gave them two goals, but at the end they were just as dejected as we were.
“I know footballers can be labelled as people who don’t care, but you only have to look at the faces in the dressing room to see how much it does mean to us.
“We’re going to try our hardest to get ourselves out of the situation that we’re in.”
Townsend was confident Newcastle could pull away from trouble when he signed in the last transfer window, but the team’s form hasn’t improved since his arrival on Tyneside.
“It’s difficult to say what I thought would happen when I signed,” he said. “Obviously, when I joined, there were a lot more games left and we were a lot more positive.
“But this is football, and this season, as you’ve seen, anything can happen.
“We’re in the position we’re in, and we need character now. We need the senior players to stand up and be counted, and drag us out of the situation that we’re in.”
Tottenham, Townsend’s former club, are challenging for the Premier League title.
But the Londoner – who had been frozen out at White Hart Lane – insists he has NO regrets about moving to Tyneside.
“I definitely don’t have any regrets,” he said. “I’m playing for a massive club and playing Premier League football.
“I’m playing 90 minutes of games, and I’m 100% delighted with the move I made to Newcastle.
“I’ll give absolutely everything to help this club stay in the league.”
Townsend still believes United can climb out of the relegation zone.
“Other teams have got out of similar situations, so it’s possible,” he said. “We’re definitely not in an impossible position, but we’re running out of chances and we have to do something about that quickly.
“It’s still all to play for – we’re six points off Norwich now – and we both have difficult fixtures and winnable games.
“Hopefully, there’ll be a lot more swings still to come, but we need to make sure that we’re picking up results, starting with next Saturday.”