Fabian Schar admits confidence is low at Newcastle following a poor run of form

Defender Fabian Schar has admitted confidence is low as Newcastle attempt to halt an alarming slide.

Tuesday night’s 2-1 home defeat by Leeds was the Magpies’ fifth on the trot and meant they have not won in the last nine either side of their exits from both domestic cup competitions.

A return of two points from 27 has seen Steve Bruce’s men slump to within seven points of the relegation zone with 18 games remaining, and they know they must kick-start their season once again if they are to avoid another survival scrap.

Schar told NUFC TV: “We are believing and I’m sure we also know the quality we have in the team. Now it’s finding confidence again.

“We are making mistakes which normally do not happen because we are not full of confidence – and when results are not good, that’s normal.

“But it’s a situation where we have to deal with it and just go on to the next one and try even better.”

Newcastle contributed to their own downfall once again, Jacob Murphy losing possession inside the Leeds half to spark a break which was finished in style by Raphinha, and then allowing Jack Harrison time and space to blast home what proved to be the winner four minutes after Miguel Almiron had dragged them back into it.

Head coach Bruce was encouraged by a performance which got stronger as the game wore on, abetted in no small part by a second cameo appearance by Allan Saint-Maximin following his lengthy Covid-19 lay-off, and his players felt aggrieved not to have emerged with tangible reward.

Schar said: “The frustration in the team and the fans around the club is big, and I can understand that. We are in a bad situation. The last couple of games we have lost and we are not happy with that, obviously.

“But there’s nothing to blame, it’s just head down and keep going.”

Bruce will hope the addition of Gateshead-born former Bournemouth coach Graeme Jones, a long-time ally of Belgium boss Roberto Martinez, to his coaching staff – his arrival was confirmed on Wednesday – will have an impact.

Jones said: “I’m proud to be here at the team I supported as a boy, and all of my life. During my playing and coaching career, it has always been the first result I would look for after my own.

“Now, I’ve hopefully got a chance to have a direct influence on results and the future of the football club, which is something I’m very excited for.”

Meanwhile, promoted Leeds will prepare for Sunday’s testing trip to Leicester with confidence restored after ending their three-game losing streak with victory on Tyneside.

Midfielder Stuart Dallas told LUTV: “Look, it’s about winning, this is about winning. We’ve played better this year and not got anything, so to come here and get three points is huge for us.

“It was about coming here and getting the three points and stopping that little bit of bad form that we were in results-wise. We’ll build on this and we’ll look forward now to Leicester.”