ROB ELLIOT has hit out at the growing negativity gripping troubled Newcastle.
And the goalkeeper claims the flak is affecting the Toon players who have endured a nightmare start to life back in the Premier League.
Newcastle are goalless and pointless after two games with manager Rafa Benitez increasingly frustrated at the lack of backing he has received from owner Mike Ashley.
The uneasy relationship between the pair is impacting on the dressing room and fans are already fearing a relegation scrap.
Elliot admits gloom and uncertainty has replaced the excitement of promotion.
“It feels like the joy and unbelievable feeling of coming up has been shrouded since then,” he said. “It seems to have gone away very quickly, before we even kicked a ball.
“That’s out of our hands and the manager’s. The only thing we can do is make sure we do the right things on the pitch and work hard in training.”
Outspoken former Toon midfielder Joey Barton has accused Benitez of moaning too much and having too little faith in his squad.
While Elliot won’t criticise his manager, he feels Newcastle’s critics are wrong to write them off just two games into the season.
“With the stories flying around saying, ‘We haven’t got enough’, I don’t think it’s very fair on the squad. They did a terrific job last year and we’ve brought in some good players.
“We just wanted it to be about looking forward to the Premier League season. Unfortunately, it’s not been like that.
“Playing for Newcastle isn’t like playing for other clubs. The pressure and expectation that comes with it, you’ve got to be able to handle that. We have to stay strong as a group.”
The 1-0 defeat at fellow Premier League newcomers Huddersfield means the Magpies have lost their opening two top-flight games for the first time since 1999 under Ruud Gullit.
Like Benitez, however, Elliot insists it is far too early to press the panic button.
“We didn’t want to start off with two defeats but we did that last year and won the league,” he said.
“I’m not saying we’re going to win the league but I don’t think it means the world’s coming to an end and we have to look with despair.
“I just think we need to gel, get settled and push on for ourselves.”
Barton believes the time has come for Benitez to keep his mouth shut and focus on the job in hand.
“It doesn’t help when the manager is out there moaning, clearly unhappy with the situation. That definitely festers out on the pitch,” said Barton, who is currently banned from football after breaking FA rules on betting.
“If you’re a player and you hear the manager moaning about investment, it doesn’t inspire confidence because he’s saying you’re not good enough.
“When you come up, you do need investment but there is also a case that Benitez needs to get on with it. You have got some good players at your disposal. Get them coached.
“You’ve got what you’ve got. Okay, you maybe need to keep it private in terms of can we get bodies in, but he’s paid an awful lot of money so coach what is in front of you.”
Barton also hit out at the tactics employed by Benitez in the two defeats so far.
“Benitez has historically set up his teams to be defensively well structured,” he said. “He doesn’t play the most attacking brand of football. He’s playing one striker at Huddersfield.
“They need a bit more quality in those positions because you’re going to have to score goals to stay in this league. You cannot draw everyone to death.”