Newcastle United once again refused to fight for their Premier League status on the South coast, as Southampton eased to a 3-1 win at St. Mary’s.

Knowing that last week’s result against Norwich moved them one step closer to losing their top flight status, Rafa Benitez’s side were tasked with fighting againstĀ a properly run club, who have no problems exposing poor sides.

And they proved as much as Newcastle took just four minutes to concede, as Shane Long literally walked past Steven Taylor and shot past Karl Darlow to open the scoring.

Taylor then went off with an injury, although it may have been a case of him realising he’s not fit to wear the shirt, in some sort of epiphany.

Daryl Janmaat also showed his true colours, limping off before the break, as Benitez was forced into using his subs rather than having the chance to change the game himself with his switches.

By that time, Graziano Pelle had doubled Southampton’s lead, and the rout continued soon after half time.

Victor Wanyama – a player that has more red cards than goals in his Saints career – reacted to a loose ball in the area after Newcastle had fallen asleep at a short corner.

Andros Townsend was the only visiting player to show any kind of attempt to get back into the game, going on a couple of dangerous runs before thundering in a consolation goal.

But it was never going to be enough for the Geordies, even though Aleksandar Mitrovic had one ruled out for offside, and their slide towards the Championship gathers pace.

It’s not Benitez’s fault, it’s not even Steve McClaren who can be blamed for this season’s capitulation – that much is clear when you see the eleven embarrassments take to the field every Saturday.

The likes of Steven Taylor, Jamaal Lascelles, Karl Darlow and Vurnon Anita simply aren’t good enough to lace the boots of a professional, while Moussa Sissoko, Daryl Janmaat, Gini Wijnaldum and Ayoze Perez just can’t be arsed when it comes to fighting for the right to play.

It’s worrying that there is no characters of a similar ilk to Joey Barton or Kevin Nolan to secure an instant return from the Championship next season, but this is exactly what Newcastle United deserve from years of being run like a business, and entrusting all their footballing decisions to a Lee Charnley, a man who is more akin to balancing a spreadsheet rather than hiring and firing.