Jamaal Lascelles claims beleaguered Newcastle are ridiculous on paper

The Magpies defender says they have a hugely talented squad but admits that doesn't matter without a fighting spirit.

Newcastle United defender Jamaal Lascelles has told BBC Newcastle that the club's team is "ridiculous" and made up of hugely talented players, but admits that the side lack the heart and fight desperately needed.

The Magpies lost 3-1 at Southampton on Saturday and despite fellow strugglers Sunderland and Norwich City also losing, they remain six points adrift of safety with only six games remaining after missing another chance to close the gap.

That was Rafael Benitez's side's eights defeat in the last 10 matches and made it seven without victory since 6 February, as the team's stars such as Georginio Wijnaldum were slammed by some for going missing again after numerous anonymous displays in recent times.

Lascelles says that Newcastle's team boasts a tremendous wealth of talent on paper, but admits that means nothing if they do not possess the fighting attitude needed to steer themselves to safety.

The centre-back told BBC Newcastle: "On paper our team is ridiculous but we need to show more heart. We need players who care and will look after each other, we've lacked it.

"We've got flair players, tricky players, players with loads of talent but we need more heart, desire and bigger characters on the pitch.

"No matter how good you are, if you don't have that fight and hunger it doesn't matter."

In reality, Newcastle are likely to need at least three wins to stay in the Premier League, and with Liverpool, Manchester City, and Tottenham Hotspur still to play over the course of their remaining six games, they must secure results quickly.

Benitez's men have a distinctly winnable home match against Swansea City next Saturday before hosting City in midweek, and if they do not emerge victorious against the Welsh side, the curtain may start to fall on their time in the Premier League.

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