Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka has insisted that Rafa Benitez has the "100 percent" backing of his team despite the club currently languishing at the bottom of the Premier League table.
The Magpies are without a win this season and in a bid to arrest their poor form Benitez has held a series of 'tough-talking debriefs' with his squad ahead of conducting individual analysis with every player this week.
The current state of affairs at St James' Park saw the Spaniard cancel his appearances on Sky Sports Monday Night Football for Arsenal's clash against Leicester as he conceded his presence would not be a good look with his team struggling to click into gear.
Newcastle's form, however, has led to widespread speculation surrounding the safety of Benitez's job but Dubravka is adamant their manager has the complete backing of the players.
“We’re 100% behind him and he’s 100% behind us. Anything else is just speculation and just rumours," Dubravka said, via the Mirror.
“I don’t think it’s time to panic now as there’s still a lot of games in front of us. We can still take some points. I know that it can happen really soon.
“If we can take some victories, the confidence will go higher. I have to say that all of us are behind each other, behind the manager. All the club are supporting us. I don’t think it’s time to speculate.”
Benitez - who is out of contract at the end of the season - must now prove he can turn the club's fortunes around starting with their Premier League encounter against Southampton and then Watford before being forced to take another pause due to the international break.
If you honestly think Benitez is the problem in all of this, then YOU are becoming a real problem.— Black&WhiteBarmy (@BlackWhiteBarmy) October 23, 2018
It's not been fun to watch, but there's only one man to blame for the mess we're in & only one man who can save us.
If you can't see that, you've not been paying attention.#nufc
Moreover, with only six goals scored in nine league games to date Newcastle's skipper Jamaal Lascelles has insisted the players must also take ownership of their current predicament in the wake of the Magpies' latest defeat to Brighton.
He said: “As players we’ve got to take responsibility ourselves. We have to get together and talk about it because we need to be more clinical in the box.”