George Graham has pleaded with fans not to take any frustrations out on the players at Chelsea on Saturday.
Manager and players alike expressed their surprise and disappointment when cheers turned into jeers after Derby equalised in the first half in last week’s Premiership encounter at the Lane.
Thankfully we went on to beat the bottom club 3-1 and George now wants our travelling contingent to stay positive at Stamford Bridge.
He admitted: “The fans’ reaction doesn’t help the players.
“I think the manner in which we played in the first 25 minutes against Derby was the best since I came to the club and the football was first class, top drawer. We then got a kick up the backside with an equaliser and all of a sudden the abuse started.
“I don’t want it to affect the players. When I took the job I accepted that I would get some criticism from the hardcore of supporters and they’ve not let me down.
“But let’s not take it onto the pitch with the players.”
With injuries taking their toll again and the crowd on his back this represents a tough time for George. So how was he staying positive?
“I just look at situations at clubs that are similar to ours, big clubs that are in a transitional period like Everton,” he revealed. “Just a few years ago Tottenham and Everton were in the big five. It’s the same at Newcastle under Bobby Robson as well.
“They are both big clubs with managers who have terrific CVs but I don’t see them coming in for the same flak or criticism.
“I think the criticism is personal and nothing to do with football.
“Even if I was challenging there would still be a hardcore and that’s what they are, it’s not the majority.
“I just hope the hardcore doesn’t influence the rest of the fans. That’s important.
“But the most important thing is that they don’t start getting onto the players.
“They have a great team spirit amongst themselves now. Okay, our away form hasn’t been great but our home form has been good.
“I look at the table and we’re above Everton, we’re above Chelsea, we’re only a couple of points behind Newcastle and Bobby Robson is a bit of a Messiah up there just now.
“It’s not as bad as everyone is painting the picture but I would have liked to have done a bit better and I’m sure the fans would have liked to have done a bit better as well.”
To listen to George's thoughts, click here