Alan Pardew insists he is not panicking despite his side's disappointing run of form in the Premier League.
Newcastle travel to Stoke on Wednesday hoping to avoid a fourth successive defeat, a stark contrast to the impressive form of last season which saw the Magpies claim a top-five finish.
And Pardew, who is without injured duo Steven Taylor and Yohan Cabaye until February, says his players must find the right balance between working hard and taking risks.
"You can't doubt your risk-taking, because actually, that's what it affects as a player," said Pardew.
"When they say people are struggling with confidence, I always think it's our struggling with risk-taking because you don't take risks, you play safe and sometimes when you play safe, you don't get any reward.
"There's a balance between really working hard and risk-taking, and that's what we need to get right at Stoke.
"We are certainly not panicking, but we need to be conscious of where we are in the division and that we have got tough games around the corner.
"We are going to need to kick into gear - and kick into gear with some key players missing, by the way.
"That means we have all got to work that little bit harder."