Interim Newcastle boss Alan Shearer believes the Toon's lack of discipline may have contributed to their poor showing this campaign. The Toon manager insists his players must be 100 per cent professional as they look to overcome the three-point gap to safety, starting with Monday night's vital Tyne-Tees derby against fellow strugglers Middlesbrough.
Shearer said: "I'm not interested in what's gone on in the past. I was aware of things, of discipline, or lack of it, and people have said I've come in and tried to instil discipline and rule with iron rod. But that's not the case.
"There was a fine system in place. I've increased that. Make your own mind up why. I'm just asking players to be on time for work and I don't think that's too much of a problem, particularly when it's 10 o'clock in the morning.
"We're a professional football club, you have to be professional and that's all I'm asking. It's important for players to come in and feel relaxed to enjoy training and have a smile on their face but it's also very important to be disciplined and professional in what we do. After all, it's a professional sport and we're all getting very well paid for it.
"Every successful club has a discipline side and a code of conduct and this one's no different. There are more important issues but if you take care of the little things then the big things might take care of themselves and things might start to happen results-wise because of it."