'Morale lowest' - Big Sam

Newcastle boss thinks dressing-room is at all-time low

Allardyce: Lowest ebb

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Three defeats on the trot has left morale in the Newcastle dressing room at its lowest ebb so far.

That is the assessment of Magpies boss Sam Allardyce, who must now lift his dejected players for Sunday's trip to Stoke in the FA Cup third round.

Wednesday's 2-0 home defeat to Manchester City means Allardyce's team have taken only one point from their Festive programme, with other losses away to Chelsea and Wigan preceded by a draw at home to rock-bottom Derby.

Big Sam believes his team must stop "shooting themselves in the foot" after watching the Magpies' latest loss.

Asked if the dressing room was at its lowest ebb to date, Allardyce replied: "Probably, yes.

Dejected

"The players are very dejected and disappointed. It has been a massive effort with so many games in such a short period of time.

"Now it is three defeats on the trot and in terms of confidence, that is hugely draining.

"We have to take it on the chin and take the positive points out of the game.

"But we cannot keep shooting ourselves in the foot by playing so well and not getting results to go along with it.

"It was typical of the Premier League - it will kill you under those circumstances."

Allardyce will at least take solace from the fact that he will have his four African Cup of Nations players - Abdoulaye Faye, Habib Beye, Geremi and Obafemi Martins - available for the trip to Stoke.

Nigerian international Martins has been told he can play against either Stoke or Manchester United in the league six days later, although the other three players will leave after Sunday's match.

Beye hopes he can sign off on a winning note, and believes the dressing room has to pick itself up.

Difficult

He said: "We need to stay together now and stick it out. It is difficult at the moment and we need to work at it.

"I think the fans have been very patient. They have been okay with us because we have had a few defeats and they have stayed behind us.

"Hopefully, we can give them something back, and that starts at Stoke City on Sunday."