Coloccini: The relegation fight starts now

Sarah Winterburn

Skipper Fabricio Coloccini insists time is already running out on Newcastle’s survival bid.

The defender has called on the Magpies to improve fast after they were left two points from safety in the Barclays Premier League.

Monday’s 1-0 defeat at West Brom kept Newcastle in the relegation zone ahead of Saturday’s trip to Arsenal.

Steve McClaren’s side suffered successive defeats over Christmas to lose ground and Coloccini knows they need a quick revival.

He said: “We don’t have time, now we have to improve as quickly as possible because we are in the middle of the season and we need points. We have to be careful and try to do it as soon as possible.

“Two months ago we said it was still a long season, a long way, now we’re in the middle of the season and we need to improve because the end is coming.

“I think some of them are starting to learn now, they have not been in this situation. They played for top teams in other leagues. It’s a different experience for them but they have to know this is very difficult. It’s a tough Premier League season and it’s going to be tougher if we don’t do the right things.”

Coloccini was part of the Newcastle squad relegated in 2009 but believes their plight is different this time.

He said: “In that moment we had a bigger squad and most of them were big players. Now it’s different, we have a lot of young players who want to improve and be top players. That’s the difference now. Some of the players are hungry.”

The 33-year-old also understood the reaction of the travelling fans as they jeered the players off at The Hawthorns.

“They travel everywhere and they are always behind us. They are allowed to say anything they want,” he added. “They know the players who go on the pitch give everything and everyone wants to do the best for the team. We always try.”