Can anybody change Newcastle's losing mentality?

Newcastle Stand

Despite rumours of improving attitudes after clear-the-air talks, Saturday's 5-1 loss tells an all-too-familiar story on Tyneside.

Newcastle manager Steve McClaren has accepted the monumental task that stands in front of him. The 54-year-old finally admitted his side, who now sit second from bottom, were in a relegation battle after just two wins from 13 games.

Saturday’s 5-1 trouncing at Crystal Palace was a picture-perfect example of what a mess Newcastle are in. Even after going 1-0 up, it always looked like they would lose. Every time Palace attacked, a goal was on the cards. It didn’t take long until it was 3-1 and the fight from the black & white was extinguished.

The manner of the defeat has raised serious concerns on Tyneside as Newcastle slip towards an impending implosion, if it hasn't happened already...

While McClaren has received his share of criticism for the club'z current plight, with former captain Alan Shearer accusing him of a lacking 'a plan', as per the BBC, the story of Newcastle’s woes stretch far beyond this season.

Losing mentality

Since 1st January 2014, Newcastle United's first team have won just 17 of 71 league games, suffering 44 losses.

Narrowing the statistic down to this calendar year, the North-East side have won a paltry five of their 33 league outings.

As if these figures were not damning enough for an outfit reported as the 10th-best supported in Europe, the club's academy does not fare any better.

Since 1st January 2015, Newcastle’s Under-21 side have won just four of their 26 fixtures. In the same period of time, the Under-18 squad have lost 20 of their last 31 games.

That means, in total, Newcastle’s three sides have played 90 times in 2015 and won just 18 of those matches.

The entire setup at Newcastle United is being suffocated by a losing culture and, if something does not change soon, they will surely be relegated.

How has the club reacted?

Former England boss McClaren has been nothing but honest with the media and fans alike since undertaking the role this past summer.

Speaking after Saturday’s thumping, the Fulford man opened up about the lack of desire currently shown by the squad: "They’re not doing it for each other - and sometimes it’s not about me, it’s about each other… When you’re a player it’s about peer pressure, it’s about not letting him down next to me, and him next to me. At the present moment we’ve not got that."

Despite his criticism, McClaren is still unwavering in his belief that there is no need to write off The Magpies just yet: "We’re not panicking and I think that’s where experience will tell. We know we’re doing the right things - I know that through experience. In time, it will turn around and work.

"We will work with these players to develop character and fight through bad times. That’s when your character comes out."

Is there any hope?

While it is hard to disagree with McClaren, so far they are just words. The results have not come.

The manager called his players in for extra training last Sunday on what was a scheduled day-off and dropped those, including summer signing Aleksandar Mitrovic, to the bench against Palace after previous lifeless displays.

Yet, astonishingly, nothing seems to change.

It seems incredible to write off any team with 25 games to go but, considering the fact Newcastle are already four points worse off than they were in 2008/2009, the season they last were relegated, the signs are all pointing towards a similarly doomed campaign.

Ultimately, how the club recruit in January will decide their season. The current squad have proven impossible to influence and it is time for those who are not up for the fight to leave.

There is still time for Newcastle to turn things around with more than half the season yet to play but the gap between the bottom three and safety is now starting to widen. It’s imperative that as many points as possible are picked up, no matter what the style of play or means of getting them are.

Cultures change and Newcastle won’t be in this current disarray forever. But, with the largest football television rights deal ever to kick in next year, it is crucial that Newcastle stay in the top flight this season.

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