Newcastle defender Steven Taylor apologised to the club's fans after admitting his side's 6-0 thrashing against Liverpool felt like a "death in the family".
Alan Pardew's team are in danger of relegation from the Premier League after their biggest loss at St James' Park since 1925 and Taylor concedes there can be no excuses for the shocking performance that threatens to wreck their season.
Newcastle's supporters were already at a low ebb after local rivals Sunderland won at St James' earlier this month and the Liverpool rout has added to the gloom on Tyneside.
"It's a sick feeling. At this moment in time, it feels like a family member has died, if I am being honest with you," Taylor said.
"In the dressing room, looking around everyone was devastated and realised the situation we are in.
"We have to apologise, first and foremost, to the fans, for everybody who came here and watched the lads, and hold our hands up because we know we let them down.
"We are devastated with it, it wasn't acceptable and we all hold our hands up. It wasn't good enough."
Newcastle are now just five points clear of the relegation zone with three games to play.
They head for West Ham next Saturday knowing another defeat would leave them in genuine danger of a second relegation in five seasons.
With that unpleasant prospect in mind, Taylor admits there is no time for Newcastle's players or fans to feel sorry for themselves after Saturday's embarrassment.
"We have just got to put that to bed and focus on ourselves," Taylor said. "Everybody is going to be criticising the team, the manager, everybody, but we have to stick together.
"The last three games are going to be like cup finals for us.
"We have got to accept what's coming our way, and that's going to be the criticism this weekend leading up to the West Ham game.
"But we have to stick together and get on with it, and make sure next week we put this to bed and get the three points that we need. It's vital."