Paul Dummett has warned Newcastle they cannot feel sorry for themselves after their desperate start to the Premier League season took a turn for the worse.
Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat by Brighton – their fifth on the trot to St James’ Park – left them at the foot of the table with just two points from the first 27 they have contested, their worst start to a top-flight campaign since 1898.
To make matters worse, the latest disappointment emanated from a game in which Rafael Benitez’s men enjoyed the greater share of the possession and the chances, but succumbed to a scruffy Beram Kayal goal from an incorrectly-awarded corner.
Full-back Dummett told NUFC TV: “We dominated from start to finish, and they had one opportunity on goal and they scored from a set-piece that was never a corner to them.
“But we have got to be more clinical in front of goal when we get the chances because we had plenty of possession, plenty of chances and we didn’t finish them off and in the Premier League, you get punished when you don’t take chances.
“We can’t feel sorry for ourselves, we have got to carry on going because it’s a long old season and we’re still just at the start of the season now and a few wins can take you back up closer to the teams around us.”
Benitez has had to recalibrate his aims for the season after the club failed to deliver the summer signings he believed would help them build upon last season’s creditable top-10 finish, and owner Mike Ashley has borne the brunt of the fans’ frustration at a transfer window which saw the Magpies make a profit in excess of £20million.
However, what is perhaps more worrying is that the unity, organisation and fighting spirit which characterised their first campaign back in the top flight has dissolved and the manager too has found himself in the firing line.
The Spaniard freely admits his squad is stronger than it was last season even if not as strong as he would like it to be, but performances have been significantly poorer.
A deflated Benitez said a head of next weekend’s trip to Southampton: “We have to react and be sure that in the next game, we can play well and create chances and take those chances.”
Former Newcastle boss Chris Hughton was thrilled at a first top-flight away win in almost 12 months despite the loss of striker Glenn Murray to a head injury after he was knocked unconscious just nine minutes into the game.
When asked if victory was all the sweeter for coming against the club which dispensed with his services in December 2010, Hughton – who revealed Murray had been discharged from hospital in his post-match press conference – said: “I can honestly tell you it’s no different to anywhere else.
“This is a club that I have got very, very fond memories of, and I always want to do well, so no, it’s no different to anywhere else.
“For us, it’s a big away three points, and we are not used to get so many of them. That’s more than the fact that it’s here.”