Newcastle United's players have released a statement offering their backing to beleaguered boss Steve McClaren hours before Saturday's Premier League clash with AFC Bournemouth.
Reports this week have claimed the players have been surprised McClaren has not yet been sacked with the club second from bottom in the table after losing four of their last five games.
But, in an unusual move, the squad insisted that was not the case and have admitted their culpability for the club's struggles.
The statement, as reported by The Northern Echo newspaper, read: "Newcastle United players would like to make clear that reports in some areas of the media suggesting we are surprised that our head coach has not been dismissed are untrue.
"As a group we aware of the situation we are in and it is our responsibility to change that.
"The coach and his staff prepare us well for each game, but once on the pitch it is not they who can stop the goals we concede or the chances we don't take, that responsibility is ours the players.
"On the occasions we have given poor performances this season the coach has in the privacy of the dressing room rightly demonstrated his disappointment in us.
"In his press conferences, though, we have seen that he defends his group, continues to show faith in us and shares the responsibility with us. For this he has the full respect of the players.
"The players are also aware from articles in yesterday's newspapers that a person or persons connected with the club are giving information to the press of a negative nature.
"As players we are very disappointed by this. It's a betrayal of trust for the coach, us and the club.
"As a group we know we have it within us to keep this club in the Premier League.
"We now must fight every game at a time to earn our place in the Premier League for next season."