Football News

Steve Bruce fires back as Newcastle warm-up criticism is silenced at Spurs

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 18:14, 26 August 2019

Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce has described the criticism he’s faced as “embarrassing” following their 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur.

Bruce succeeded the popular Rafael Benitez on Tyneside ahead of this season after the Spanish coach and Magpies owner Mike Ashley couldn’t reach an agreement on a new deal.

His appointment was met with subdued fanfare due to Benitez being a popular figurehead plus Bruce’s indifferent performances of late including a brief tenure at Sheffield Wednesday.

Bruce would suffer a narrow 1-0 defeat at home to Arsenal on the opening weekend before Norwich City humbled them 3-1 at Carrow Road which led to calls for his resignation.

A departure was never on the cards this early and Newcastle United bounced back in north London with a surprise victory over Champions League finalists Spurs, with the only goal coming from record signing Joelinton, his first for the club.

It was a result that gave Bruce some breathing space, meaning no better time to discuss what has come his way since taking charge. And although Bruce accepts it comes with the territory, some of the criticism has straight up bemused him.

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“I am delighted for my staff and the players who have responded in the right way. It is OK talking about tactics and discipline but they have got to go out on the pitch and perform,” he told reporters.

“They went out there for the 90 minutes and they were brave. Of course, we rode our luck a bit but overall I thought we thoroughly deserved it.

“We have had a tough week so the one thing you have to do is respond in the right way. Thankfully, we have done that. That’s the important thing.”

“We can’t do a warm-up? Tactics? It’s embarrassing, some of the stuff. The only way you can respond to it is with the team putting in a performance like that. The organisation was there for everyone to see,” he added.

“I have managed 900-odd games over 20 years. You would think there would be some respect. But I go back to the fact that whoever was going to replace Rafa [Benitez] was going to have a tough time.

“The easiest thing would have been to have said no to the challenge. But I am as determined as I have ever been to take the club forward. Days like today I will remember for a long time.”

Tottenham 0-1 Newcastle game by numbers: Five key things to know…

  • Newcastle recorded their first win and handed Spurs a first loss of the season.
  • Shots: 13-8
  • Pass accuracy: 90%-73%
  • Chances created: 9-7
  • Possession: 79%-21%