Jamaal Lascelles has admitted Newcastle United have under-performed so badly this season it wouldn’t have mattered who the manager was, as he issues a public apology to Toon fans, and shouldered his share of the blame for Steve Bruce’s exit.
Jamaal Lascelles has admitted Newcastle players helped get Steve Bruce the sack – and says the takeover has raised ambition levels.
The club skipper says the team’s performances – winless this season, with the worst defence in the league and in 19th position – “put a lot of heat on the manager”.
But he reckons Saturday’s clash at Crystal Palace represents a “clean slate” with coach Graeme Jones, who commands “a lot of respect” taking caretaker charge.
Lascelles is one the the players looking to up his game and organise a leaky back line which ended in Bruce’s sacking after just seven wins in 38 games.
Lascelles said: “When we are performing as we do it is going to put a lot of heat on the manager.
“We need to be accountable and look at ourselves as well because there comes a point when it doesn’t matter who is in charge, if the collective as players are not doing it, it doesn’t matter.”
Asked if Bruce’s demise came as a surprise, Lascelles says not. “We all looking at the social media and stuff.
“Uncertainty doesn’t help when you don’t know if the manager is staying or going. A lot of things have happened recently.
“He is a well respected man and 1000 games as a manager says a lot in itself. The time here we had a lot of ups and downs. That is part of football.
“I would like to wish Steve all the best to him and his family in what he does next. Graeme is in charge. That is done. There are no excuses or thinking otherwise. “
Newcastle have started their hunt for a new boss and started interviewing candidates with Paulo Fonseca, Frank Lampard, Eddie Howe and Lucien Favre among those in the frame.
But Lascelles says United have a solid stand-in in Jones, who coached England to the Euro finals in the summer with Gareth Southgate and his backroom team.
Lascelles said: “The minute Graeme walked in the door he got a lot of respect from the boys. He is a football man, tactically good. It is fantastic. I hope he can turn things round on Saturday. We have worked hard in training.
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“It is a clean slate for everyone and people need to impress and it will be interesting to see what happens.”
Lascelles received a personal call from director and deal-maker Amanda Staveley to inform him the buy-out was happening 15 days ago.
He added: “The ambition they are saying, they are genuine nice people and want to build that relationship and help as much as they can. It is nice to hear that , and having that connection.”
And he had a message of sympathy for United fans, adding: “We need a win for the fans. The reception we got last Sunday, the flags, sold out, singing the whole game behind the players. It must be hard for them.
“They pay a lot of money every week for tickets and watch us perform how we have done, not getting results, it must be difficult.
“We have a genuine group of players here and we feel it. We feel their frustration. We want to win for them and our families too. We are doing everything on and off the pitch, nutrition everything to get things right.”