By Matt Farr
Newcastle midfielder Isaac Hayden has apologised to fans for their shocking display against Oxford in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday.
The Magpies were emphatically beaten 3-0 by the League Two outfit, ending their hopes of success in the competition.
Rafa Benitez had made nine changes to his starting XI for the tie, allowing many of his fringe players to get a run-out, but despite their previous lack of action this season, it was still a side capable of beating Oxford.
Credit must go to Michael Appleton’s side for their own performance, but Newcastle were appalling, and Isaac Hayden was among several Newcastle players to recognise that.
The 21-year-old took to Twitter following the performance to apologise to the travelling fans for their abject display with a no-holds-barred message.
He said: “No excuses, was a shocking performance today. I apologise to the fans that travelled down to watch. Have to look at ourselves today.”
No excuses, was a shocking performance today, I apologise to the fans that travelled down to watch, Have to look at ourselves for today
— Isaac Hayden (@IsaacHayden65) January 28, 2017
The defeat does though, allow Newcastle to focus fully on their Championship campaign. They are currently locked with rivals Brighton – who were also eliminated from the FA Cup – at the top of the league table, and the pair are set to go head-to-head for the league title.
An immediate return to the Premier League was always at the top of the agenda for Benitez, and that is what Newcastle have been working towards this season.
Success elsewhere would have been an added bonus, but it is the manner of their cup exit that has drawn such disappointment.
Hayden and Newcastle will be expected to make amends when they take on Queens Park Rangers on Wednesday.