Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew admits that the club have not been the same since the loss of Yohan Cabaye.
The French midfielder left to join PSG in January and Pardew feels that this was a crushing blow to the side.
Not only did the Magpies lose a supremely talented central-midfielder when Cabaye left, but they also saw a lot of experience depart and Pardew believes this has hurt the squad.
"I didn’t think we were strong enough in the last part of the season and that’s been held against me that I’ve been making excuses, but I just felt that we needed more and we didn’t have it after the loss of (Yohan) Cabaye," he is quoted as saying by Sky Sports.
"This club needs big players because we are a big scalp for any team."
"Forget where we are in the league. We need big players and our big players need to stand up."
Now, more than ever, those words ring true. Newcastle are fighting against a challenging atmosphere at St. James' Park, because of their poor start.
The Mapgies fans are frustrated by the continual disappointments the side have given them this year and their players know a major improvement is needed.
The club are yet to win a game since the start of the season and concerns over what direction this season is heading have already emerged.
The side were relegated in 2008/09 and a repeat of that campaign would be nothing short of a disaster, but it does not look off the cards.
Although Newcastle do not have one of the worst three squads in the division, their new signings are struggling to adapt and with the pressure mounting it will take some series character for them to come through this difficulty.
Their first match when they return to action after the international break is against Leicester City and nothing other than three points will be acceptable in-front of an expectant home crowd.