Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor has likened Saturday's 6-0 loss to Liverpool to a death in the family.
The scoreline was Newcastle's heaviest home defeat since 1925 and left the club just five points clear of the Premier League relegation zone with three games to play.
Alan Pardew's side are next in action at West Ham, and Taylor is conscious that his team-mates should not dwell on their performance against the Reds.
Centre-back Taylor said: "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.
"In the dressing room, looking around everyone was devastated and realised the situation we are in.
"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.
"We have just got to put that to bed and focus on ourselves. Everybody is going to be criticising the team, the manager, everybody, but we have to stick together.
"We have heard those words a lot in the past six months, but that's vital now. The last three games are going to be like cup finals for us.
"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.
"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."
Information from the Press Association was used in this report.