Mike Ashley employee Bobby Moncur has tried to inject some positivity into Newcastle’s situation ahead of Stoke City on Wednesday, bu declaring that at least we aren’t as desperate as Aston Villa.

He could have also mentioned Sunderland but that would be a marginal one with the mackems only one point behind Newcastle and set to go above United if they get anything off Crystal Palace in Tuesday night, Alan Pardew’s team having failed to win in their last 10 Premier League games.

Newcastle United Director Bobby Moncur has also defended the decision to head off to La Manga during this 18 day break between matches, Moncur claiming that Newcastle are an easy target and he questions why the likes of Everton and Sunderland haven’t had the same scrutiny regarding their trips to Dubai in the same period.

The answer to that for most Newcastle supporters is that we are not bothered about other clubs, it is what our club and players do and don’t do that concerns us.

When your average player is earning tens of thousands of pounds a week, it is maybe a little outdated to claim that five days in La Manga is some sort of big treat for the team. However, in many fans’ eyes it just simply sends out the wrong message.

With regard to La Manga, everybody connected with the club would be maybe just better advised to say nothing and let Wednesday night answer the criticism.

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A win, or even a draw with a decent performance, would allow the management and players to claim the trip had been of some benefit but if it is the usual away performance/result, then they will deserve everything that is thrown in their direction – La Manga or no La Manga.

The reasoning for the trip to Spain was hardly helped when Steve McClaren bizarrely claimed the main reason was because they couldn’t find a team in the whole of the UK to play during the break, to give players time on the pitch.

Reality is that nothing else matters apart from winning football matches, win those and everything else is just so much background noise.

Bobby Moncur talking to The Chronicle:

‘The big plus is at least we have a chance of getting out of it, you look at Aston Villa, who are cut adrift and we aren’t that situation. We still have a big chance.

You can be damned if you do and damned if you don’t on certain matters, such as the team’s recent training camp in La Manga. Both Paul Merson and Phil Thompson came out during the trip to Spain and suggested it should be cancelled. But believe me I won’t lose any sleep over what Paul Merson thinks, or even Phil Thompson for that matter.

Other teams also went away. Sunderland and Everton went to Dubai. Unfortunately, Newcastle are an easy target.

It is so easy to sit in a warm and comfortable studio and make comments from the sidelines when you aren’t in the middle of the situation. The reality is that it is down to the squad and the backroom staff to get out of trouble. They are the only ones who can do something about it.

We know the fans who travel to Stoke will be 100% behind the team like they always are, they know the team haven’t been playing well but they recognise when a team is putting effort in or not.

We need a good team performance at Stoke and what we need to see is an improvement on the away form with a determined and organised display. The players now need to respond.’