Jamaal Lascelles: Newcastle United need to show character and heart to survive

Jamaal Lascelles
Jamaal Lascelles (second from right) attempts to rouse his team-mates at Southampton

Defender Jamaal Lascelles says Newcastle United need "character, desire and heart" to retain their Premier League status.

Saturday's 3-1 defeat at Southampton left the Magpies deep in relegation trouble, six points adrift of Norwich with an inferior goal difference.

After the match, boss Rafael Benitez said anxiety was affecting the players.

"On paper our team is ridiculous but we need to show more heart," Lascelles, 22, told BBC Newcastle.

"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."

Listen: 'Newcastle would be the best team ever to be relegated'

Newcastle's remaining games
16 AprilSwansea City (h)
19 AprilManchester City (h)
23 AprilLiverpool (a)
30 AprilCrystal Palace (h)
7 MayAston Villa (a)
15 MayTottenham (h)

Benitez's managerial record with Valencia, Liverpool, Chelsea and Real Madrid is littered with trophies, but not even the Spaniard has been able to arrest Newcastle's slide.

The Magpies have lost six of the last seven games, and have Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham among their opponents in their final six matches.

"We had Steve McClaren, a great manager, we've now got Rafa Benitez, a great manager; it's clearly not that, it's the players," Lascelles continued.

"There are no excuses, players hold their hand up, we have to stay positive. We can't dwell on it and if you start thinking about stuff, that's when you really do mess up."

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