Steve McClaren’s refusing to think about January’s transfer window – as he must first make it to the New Year.
Newcastle United are 19th in the Premier League ahead of Sunday’s game against Liverpool.
We have to draw that out, but we also have to stay calm and keep doing the right things.
McClaren condeded that his lifeless side, embarrassingly beaten 5-1 by Crystal Palace on Saturday, is now in a “relegation battle” after the match at Selhurst Park.
And a squad which had £50million spent on it in the summer urgently needs further strengthening.
But the club’s head coach – who is the bookmakers’ favourite to be the next managerial casualty – is refusing to “look to”, or talk about, the next transfer window.
“We can’t look to January,” said McClaren.
“It’s Liverpool next, then Spurs, then after that, then after that.
“We can’t think about January because we’ve got games, and we have to get to work and start winning games.
“We’re in a relegation battle, and we have to make sure that however many teams are battling away in that with us, we’re the ones at the top of that pile.”
Newcastle took the lead against Crystal Palace – Papiss Cisse opened the scoring in the 10th minute – but Alan Pardew’s side quickly equalised.
And McClaren’s lifeless and lethargic team were unable to react to that setback.
“It’s not rocket science – everyone can see that’s what’s happening,” said McClaren.
“We get a setback, and we don’t react to it well enough.
“That’s what we need to turn around, and that has to come from the players and their own individual motivation. We have to draw that out, but we also have to stay calm and keep doing the right things.
“We’ll keep delivering the right messages. We stop doing our jobs when some disappointment hits us.
“You can’t have that – you have to keep doing your jobs, and that’s what we have to keep forcing onto them.
“The players have to do it for each other. Sometimes, it’s not about me, it’s about doing it for each other. That’s a team thing, not just on the field, but off it as well.
“I’ve been amongst dressing rooms that are not together, and it’s about peer pressure.
“It’s about pride, working for each other, and not letting down the player that’s next to you. At the present moment, we’ve not got enough of that.
“I’ve still got faith in them. It makes it harder when you go through something like this, but you just hope that every bad game and bad result will make them stronger in the end.
“There’s 14 games gone and 24 to go – the players have to learn quick.”
McClaren is drawing on his early experiences at “pointless and clueless” Middlesbrough.
He said: “Every job I’ve started, it’s been difficult.
“I had it from the first four games at Middlesbrough, where we were pointless and clueless. We were called that, and it took a good six or seven months to get through that.
“There were some really bad times, but then in the second year we built a bit and went on from there.
“Those first 18 months at Middlesbrough though were very, very difficult. We expected the same here, so that’s what I can draw on, and we’ve got experience through the coaching staff.
“We know what’s happening. We know what we have to do, and we have to stay calm and clear.
“We know what’s expected, and we have to try to get them to deliver.
“It’s about getting back in on a Sunday morning now, and getting back to work. It’s all of those things.”
McClaren had demanded a “reaction” from his team to the 3-0 home defeat to Leicester City a week earlier.
He talked about a “feisty” week’s training on the eve of the Palace game.
But his players were anything but feisty in SE25.
“I don’t think there was a negative reaction,” said McClaren. “The players were very focused before the game, and started the game well.
“They got the first goal, but we’ve had that in games before. We’ve had 20 minutes where we looked a good team followed by 20 minutes where we’ve looked a poor team.
“That’s what’s happening. Did we get a reaction? Yes, I believe so. Was it the same after going 3-1 down? It wasn’t.”