In order for Newcastle United to progress, there needs to be a shift in mentality.
There is a worrying trend among the Newcastle defenders. A number of them have suffered relegation and few have tasted success.
Rafa Benitez has a tough job on his hands here with the defenders he has at his disposal. How do the Magpies overcome this fear of relegation?
Poor track record
Two defenders that were relegated in the 2015/16 season with Newcastle are still at the club. Jamaal Lascelles and Paul Dummett stayed with the club and helped them win promotion back to the top flight.
But that experience of relegation will still play on their minds. They are not the only two Magpies defenders to go down previously.
This summer, Newcastle signed two new centre-backs. However, both of them have tasted relegation recently.
Federico Fernandez was demoted with Swansea City last season and Fabian Schar joins after going down as part of the Deportivo La Coruna defence in La Liga.
Florian Lejeune has twice been relegated in his career, while at Villarreal B in Spain and then with Brest in France.
Javier Manquillo was relegated with Sunderland before he switched allegiance to Newcastle.
Even young Jamie Sterry was part of Coventry City’s relegated side during a loan spell in 2016/17, leaving DeAndre Yedlin as the only defender on Newcastle’s books to never suffer relegation.
How do Newcastle move forward?
Perhaps Benitez got his summer recruitment slightly wrong.
Having too many players with fresh memories of relegation can really hurt the mentality in the camp. But the players need to believe in their own ability.
Newcastle have a strong enough squad to survive the drop if everyone plays to their ability. Often the mental barrier is the toughest one to overcome.