Cape Town - Newcastle United players have probably been 'too nice' to their opposition and need to win more tackles to keep possession of the ball, captain Fabricio Coloccini has said.
Saturday's 2-1 Premier League loss to Watford has left Steve McClaren's men languishing in the relegation zone, two points behind 17th-placed Norwich City after 23 games.
Newcastle have been part of the relegation battle for most of the season, and their leaky defence, which has already conceded 41 goals, was much to blame. Only Sunderland and Norwich have a worse record in the league.
"Maybe we are too nice. It is true that we need to win more tackles. If you look at all the 50-50s at the moment, maybe we are losing more than the opposite side and that is not good enough," Coloccini told British media.
"Sometimes, in our team, that can make the difference. We have great football players with the ball – but we need the ball. And to get the ball, we need to be winning that tackle. That is an important point."
Attacking midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum wants his teammates to start becoming greedier in front of the goal if they want to climb out of the relegation zone.
"Maybe we are too polite in front of goal. We don't miss on purpose of course, but we must be greedier to get goals. We need to make life easier for us," Wijnaldum said.
Newcastle travel to Goodison Park to take on 12th-placed Everton in the league on February 3.