This is a test of our character as men now – Ameobi

FRUSTRATED ... Shola Ameobi.
FRUSTRATED ... Shola Ameobi.

SHOLA Ameobi says Newcastle United fans have every right to air their frustrations – and it’s up to the players to stand up to the “scrutiny” from the terraces.

Alan Pardew’s players were booed off the pitch at the final whistle after losing a lead to go down 2-1 against Reading.

Ameobi – who started the game on the right side of a three-man midfield – believes the club’s supporters were entitled to make their feelings clear during and after the game.

“We’re hurting,” Ameobi told SportMail. “Obviously, the fans voice their opinion, which they’re entitled to.

“They come and pay their money to see us win, and unfortunately we weren’t able to get over the line.

“Their frustrations are understandable, as are ours as players.

“We had a pretty good first half. We felt the game should have been out of sight, but when you’re down the bottom, and you don’t put your chances away, the other team’s going to come back, which has been the case for us in recent weeks.

“We haven’t been able to see games out.

“In games where we should have picked up points, we’ve dropped points, which is the story of our reason.

“Obviously, we’re under a bit of pressure. I think that showed in the second half.

“They were buoyed by their win (over West Brom). You could see that – they had the belief they could get back in the game.”

Ameobi, a veteran of the club’s relegation in 2008/09, insists Pardew’s players will keep on “fighting and believing”, with fellow strugglers Aston Villa next up for United on January 29.

“We’ve got to be very brave as players to play under that sort of scrutiny,” added the 31-year-old.

“I know that we really have to step up as individuals and as a group.

“It’s not for the lack of endeavour – I think everyone’s giving everything they’ve got – but it’s just not clicking.

“We need to have big characters now. The fans are always going to be frustrated when we’re not doing so well, and we have to play through that.

“You have to be able to play when things aren’t going quite so well – that’s the test of a man and his character. That’s something we, as players, have to make sure we play through.

“When you’re down there, things don’t seem to go for you, and that certainly was the case in the first-half when every shot hit the keeper as opposed to going either side.

“We can’t lose heart – that’s something we’ve got to stress. We have to keep fighting and believing.”

Newcastle found an attacking fluency and rhythm in the first-half as sleet lashed down on St James’s Park, but the team’s performance unravelled after the break.

“It’s tough to play like that for 90 minutes because you’ve got another team who’ll have their time to get into the game,” said Ameobi.

“When that happens, we need to be more sturdy and not leak so many goals. Unfortunately that’s not something we’ve been able overcome.

“When we’re under the cosh, we seem to concede goals. That, in itself, knocks the confidence of the team. Goals change games, and once they equalised they could smell blood.”