Newcastle boss Steve McClaren said his players are "not coping" after a 5-1 loss at Crystal Palace left them one off the bottom of the Premier League.
McClaren's side have won just twice all season and their 30 goals conceded is equal worst, along with Bournemouth.
"We are all hurting, no one more than me. This is a bad time and you only get through it by showing your mettle and your determination," said McClaren.
"Character and fight is built in adversity - we have to fight."
'It is not about systems, it is about attitude'
Newcastle actually took the lead against Palace through Papiss Cisse, but then capitulated to suffer their eighth defeat in 14 league games.
They have only beaten Norwich and Bournemouth in the Premier League this season, as well as League Two Northampton in the League Cup.
There were reports during the week of angry exchanges between players and coaches during training and McClaren feels his players need to toughen up.
"It is not about systems, it is not about tactics, it is about attitude and fight," he said. "It is about running backwards as quickly as you run forwards, but when the third goal went in that went down.
"Sometimes you have to go through adversity, no one better than myself and the staff have experience of that and coming through it. We have to instil that into the players we have.
"We are not coping very well in 95 minutes or game by game. We have good spells and bad and then we cannot recover."
Battling against the drop
Newcastle were last relegated from the top flight at the end of the 2008-09 season, before returning at the first attempt. McClaren admits they are battling against dropping into the Championship after his side were booed off by their own fans at Selhurst Park.
"That was not us, that is not Newcastle United," added McClaren. "That is not what we expect, what the fans expect. That is not good enough.
"We are in a relegation fight. There is enough time [to secure survival] and I think there is enough [quality] in that dressing room to do so. It is so, so disappointing."