Newcastle United midfielder Jonjo Shelvey feels like he is "going to school again" following the recent arrival of manager Rafael Benitez.
The Magpies have lost to leaders Leicester and drawn with local rivals, and fellow strugglers, Sunderland since the Spaniard took over two weeks ago.
"You're always being watched - you feel like you're on trial if you like," Shelvey told BBC Newcastle.
"Everyone's looking to impress and being a lot busier than normal."
The 24-year-old continued: "But that's part and parcel of football, you need to show what you're about.
"When a new manager comes in, it's like going to school again."
Following Sunday's 1-1 draw with Sunderland, the Magpies remain next to bottom, one place below the Black Cats, and three points adrift of safety - although both teams have a game in hand over 17th-placed Norwich City.
The Tynesiders have four points fewer than at the same stage of the 2008-09 season, when they were last relegated from the top flight.
However, Shelvey is confident Benitez can make a big difference during the two-week international break.
"People are listening to what he says. His record speaks for itself," he said.
"[The break] will be a good chance to really knuckle down. We've not had much time since he's come in because everything has been a bit rushed."
Newcastle are next in action against Norwich at Carrow Road on 2 April.
The former Swansea midfielder added: "Rafa will come up with a game plan because that's what he does.
"I'm sure we'll go to Norwich and give a very good account of ourselves."