Newcastle - John Carver, Newcastle United's head coach, refused to use a supporters' boycott as an excuse for the 3-1 home defeat by Tottenham Hotspur which increased his worries about relegation.
Several thousand fans did stay away from the game in response to a campaign against the way millionaire Mike Ashley is running the club, although the official attendance of 47,427 was the highest in the Premier League at the weekend.
Those who did turn up failed to provide the noisy support that used to be such a feature of this ground, watching unhappily as goals from Nacer Chadli, Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane eased Tottenham to a victory that moved them above Southampton and into sixth place.
Carver, who saw Jack Colback score Newcastle's goal, was aware of the subdued atmosphere, but insisted it was not a factor in their sixth successive defeat.
He said: "It was possibly not helpful, but they are entitled to do what they want.
"I don't think that has affected what has gone on on the pitch. The players are all professional and once they cross the white line it shouldn't affect them.
"There are no excuses. We lost because we weren't good enough.
"It's not getting any easier, but this job is never easy. I'm disappointed and angry and have lots of different emotions going through my head. The bottom line is it's another defeat and not good enough."
Another win should be sufficient to make Newcastle safe, but Carver knows they are in trouble.
"We are in amongst it," he said. "We have sides like Leicester who are winning games and we aren't winning. We have to find a way to find some points.
"This is the most difficult situation I've ever been in, but I'm a fighter and I'm not going to shirk anything.
"We will take the stick and the responsibility because that's the type of person I am. I'm not going to give up on it and I have enough experience to deal with the situation."
Tottenham's mood at the final whistle was in total contrast to the gloom enveloping St James' Park and nobody was more satisfied that Kane, who has now scored 30 goals this season.
It is more than Jurgen Klinsmann ever scored for the club and puts him in sight of the 35 that Gary Lineker claimed 23 years ago.
Kane said: "I'm very proud to reach 30, but there are five games left and, hopefully, I'll get a few more goals. I had a couple of chances and the keeper made some good saves but I'm delighted to get back on the scoresheet."