Ayoze Perez has admitted there is something "wrong" at Newcastle as they attempt to avoid a second successive Premier League relegation fight.
The Magpies will head into Saturday's difficult trip to Chelsea sitting just two points clear of the bottom three and with uncertainty reigning off the pitch.
Manager Rafael Benitez's contract is up at the end of the season and he is unwilling to sign an extension until he receives assurances regarding the club's ambition for the future, something which is unlikely to be forthcoming as owner Mike Ashley awaits developments in his attempts to find a buyer.
In the meantime, Benitez and his players need to come up with a solution to the difficulties which have seen them win just four times in all competitions in 23 games to date this season, a run which culminated in Saturday's 1-1 FA Cup third round draw with Sky Bet Championship Blackburn at St James' Park.
Asked about that game, Perez said: "Something is wrong. It wasn't good enough, but we have to keep going now.
"It's going to be a long January but we must stick together and face up to it."
Asked to elaborate, the 25-year-old Spaniard added: "I don't know exactly, but it is a strange thing. You can't struggle as much as we are in home games. That means something is wrong.
"It is strange because there is no consistency. Sometimes it is individual performances, sometimes it's not like that and it's team performance.
"It can't be individual every time as we have changed players and rotated. I think there is a piece of the jigsaw that is missing.
"It is holding us back and it's why we are struggling. We've won twice at home and that's just not acceptable. It's not good enough so something should change."
Benitez is hoping that change could come in the shape of new arrivals this month, but with nine days of the transfer window having already elapsed, progress has been slow to say the least.
Atlanta United playmaker Miguel Almiron is a key target, but the finances of that deal – Newcastle appear likely to have to smash their transfer record and wage structure as well as pay sizeable agents' fees if they are to land him – could prove prohibitive.
Sources on Tyneside were insisting on Wednesday that nothing had been agreed amid claims that only the fee remained to be settled.