Newcastle defender Steven Taylor has revealed the club's off-the-field problems have brought the players closer together.
Several of Taylor's colleagues revealed their misgivings over the club's ownership saga and their lack of a permanent manager after last weekend's friendly against Shamrock Rovers in Dublin.
However, the 23-year-old insists the adversity into which the Magpies have been plunged since relegation from the Premier League has simply served to forge a tighter bond between the players who remain on the books.
That unity has come from a week-long training camp in Ireland during which caretaker boss Chris Hughton subjected the squad to three training sessions a day, the first of them at 7am.
Taylor said: “After the Shamrock Rovers game, they (the players) were asked these questions, and people might think that's what the fans want to hear, but it isn't because they don't realise what it's like.
“Dublin was the best thing that's happened to Newcastle United this pre-season. It's the best thing we could have done. We had to stick together.
“All these training sessions, I know they have been tight and close together, but we are not complaining.”
Meanwhile, Sunderland defender Paul McShane will be out for at least three months after being told he needs knee surgery.
The Republic of Ireland international sustained the injury shortly after scoring in the 4-0 friendly win at Darlington on Thursday night and did not travel with the rest of the first-team squad on their pre-season trip to Portugal.