Newcastle defender Steve Taylor has claimed his team-mates are "devastated" at the predicament they find themselves in this season.
The Tyneside club almost secured a top-four spot in the Premier League last term but, after eventually finishing fifth, they have struggled badly this season and are still not safe from the threat of relegation.
"It's a sick feeling. At this moment in time, it feels like a family member has died, if I am being honest with you," Taylor said.
"In the dressing room, looking around everyone was devastated and realised the situation we are in. We have got to accept what's coming our way, and that's going to be the criticism this weekend leading up to the West Ham game.
"We have just got to put that to bed and focus on ourselves. Everybody is going to be criticising the team, the manager, everybody, but we have to stick together.
"We have heard those words a lot in the past six months, but that's vital now. The last three games are going to be like cup finals for us."
Things went from bad to worse for Alan Pardew's men on Saturday, as they were demolished 6-0 by Liverpool in their first home game since an embarrassing reverse to local rivals Sunderland at St James' Park.
With Newcastle sitting just five points above the bottom three, Taylor was quick to apologise to the club's long-suffering supporters and challenged his colleagues to pick things up in the final three games of the season.
He added: "We have to apologise, first and foremost, to the fans, for everybody who came here and watched the lads, and hold our hands up because we know we let them down.
"We are devastated with it, it wasn't acceptable and we all hold our hands up. It wasn't good enough.
"But we have to stick together and get on with it, and make sure next week we put this to bed and get the three points that we need. It's vital."
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