Williamson: Players to blame, not Pardew

Mike Williamson insists Newcastle's players, not manager Alan Pardew, are to blame for their sluggish start to the Premier League season.

Pardew has come under heavy fire from Newcastle's fans in recent weeks, with the north-east club sitting second bottom in the table having not won any of their six top-flight fixtures so far this term.

Monday's 1-0 defeat at Stoke City did little to help Pardew's plight, but centre-back Williamson feels he and his team-mates need to take responsibility for reversing Newcastle's fortunes.

"We are all frustrated as a group, but what he [Pardew] has done has shown composure, and that is what you need in a situation like this," he said.

"He has obviously come in for criticism, but he has thick skin.

"It's ourselves [the players] that will get us out of this position. He goes through every detail to try to rectify this.

"It's just the nature of the league, but we are showing that we are fighting and pushing on to try to get that win. We just haven't been able to get that.

"We have shown on the pitch that we are 100 per cent behind him and we are doing everything we can.

"We feel we have come very close, and there have been small margins in a lot of the games."