Mike Williamson says that Newcastle United’s players deserve everything they get after a midweek horror show that prompted a fresh bout of black and white soul searching.
Although United remain nestled in the top ten their form since the turn of the year is a major cause for concern. They have failed to score in six of their last seven games and have conceded three or more goals in their last three matches – all of which have come during a four-game goalless streak since Yohan Cabaye was sold.
Injuries are clearly biting hard but the quality of their performances since a fine midweek display at Norwich has been a major cause for concern. Days off were cancelled and Pardew subjected his players to heavy criticism, which Williamson thinks is justified.
He said: “We have players missing. A lot of quality missing. But the fact is that we need the fight, the spirit and the quality. And for the next week and a half, we’re going to have to work on that and make sure that we do get a good reaction from this difficult period because the lads really are hurting in the dressing room.
“Sometimes, the fans can be a little bit unfair but you can’t say that over the past few games. They are justified. We completely understand their anger upset. Believe me, the players in there are feeling exactly the same. Now it is all about getting that reaction and making sure we can convey our spirit and fight against Villa when we’ve got to bounce back.” Williamson admits that the players have let down Pardew, whose own position is the subject of debate despite the club being in the top ten.
He said: “First thing you do it for yourself, then the manager and the fans and the club. That’s where it builds from but yeah, we have let the manager down. We have let the fans down and we have let ourselves down so it is all about getting back to the basics now.
“At our next training session, you are going to see a group of players who are going to be working their socks off and doing everything in their power to right the wrongs and correct things.”
Williamson has no problem with planned days off being cancelled.
“Sometimes, it can be good for players to get away and forget about things but there are other times when ultimately, it is good to get back to the training ground, get back to the drawing board and work hard, back to basics That’s what he has decided here and rightly so. We can have no complaints.
“We’re back in first thing tomorrow and that’s fully justified.
“The players understand that because we all know we’ve got to get back and show the desire to put the work in which helps us get back to winning ways.”
There was a furious reaction from Pardew after the game that had been expressed to the players in the dressing room.
“We’ve seen that side to him before.
“Every now and again when it is necessary, he tears into us but there needed to be some harsh words said because he felt it wasn’t good enough from the players out there on the pitch.
“It might have come across to the fans that there was no heart and that’s a disappointing thing but what we have had at this club in years gone by, is a reaction and so when things like this do happen, the lads pull together on the training ground and go back to the basics of working hard and making sure we are compact and solid.”