With only nine games left, Newcastle will now be looking over their shoulder to 18th-placed Fulham, who are only two points behind the Magpies – albeit having played an extra game (via Premier League).
Speaking after the game on Saturday night, Souness was clearly left far from impressed by the visitors’ performance on the south coast.
He said: “Every game is a big game for them. You know, they don’t have any easy games. You look at their remaining fixtures, there’ll be no easy games for them, the way they’re playing and the appetite they’re showing for the fight. It’s worrying for them.
“I think Steve Bruce knows that and I think he was particularly down tonight. When you’re not winning games, you do feel quite miserable as a manager, but you can lose one way and you can lose by not having a go, and I think tonight – he alluded to it – that they went down without a fight tonight, for me.”
“I look at that group of players and I wouldn’t be confident about them winning another game if that’s their attitude to a game which was winnable tonight for them, a team that they’re fighting with in terms of relegation. And they just didn’t show any appetite for a real fight tonight, and that would be a major concern for everybody concerned at Newcastle.”
Will Newcastle avoid the drop?
TIF Thoughts on Souness’ comments…
It appears that others agree with Souness that the Magpies appeared to lack any fight to win the game on Saturday night, with supporter groups reacting angrily to the performance, which does raise the question as to whether the players are still playing for Bruce or whether he has completely lost the dressing room.
The defeat for Newcastle has extended their poor run of form to just two wins in their last 18 Premier League games. With only nine games remaining for Bruce’s side, they face a huge battle to survive the drop and their next game after the international break comes at home against Tottenham Hotspur.