Steve Bruce insists he will 'crack on' as Newcastle manager despite Spurs defeat

Under pressure Magpies coach sees team lose 3-2 at home with new owners watching from stands at St James' Park

Steve Bruce insists he will battle on as Newcastle United manager despite his team losing 3-2 at home to Tottenham Hotspur — a result that leaves the Magpies second bottom and without a win this season.

Newcastle, spurred on by a buoyant atmosphere at St James' Park in their first game since being taken over by a Saudi Arabia-led consortium, flew out of the traps and went ahead after just 108 seconds when Callum Wilson headed in from a Javi Manquillo cross.

But the joy was short-lived as Spurs hit back in the 17th minute through Tanguy Ndombele, who lashed home from the edge of the box after being played in by Sergio Reguilon.

Things got worse for the hosts five minutes later when Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg played an excellent ball over the Newcastle defence and Kane beat the offside trap to smartly lob Karl Darlow.

Play was suspended for nearly 25 minutes just before half-time after a fan collapsed in the East Stand of the ground. Newcastle later said that the supporter's condition had been stabilised and they were on their way to hospital.

Son Heung-min added a third from close range in first-half stoppage time after play resumed before Newcastle were reduced to 10 men in the 83rd minute when substitute Jonjo Shelvey saw red for a second booking. An own-goal from Eric Dier set up a tense finish but Spurs deservedly sealed all three points.

Newcastle fans made clear their feelings on Bruce during the second half when chants of “We want Brucey out” boomed out loud and clear from the stands.

When asked if he was going to remain in the job after the latest defeat, Bruce — whose 1,000th game as a manager could well be his last in charge at Newcastle — said: “That's for other people to decide. If I was believing everything I saw last week, I might not have been here today.

“My job is to get a few results. Unfortunately this year, if you're a manager in the Premier League and you haven't won in seven or eight, you come under pressure.

“It's part of the deal of being in the Premier League. It's a big league for big boys and I'll crack on until I hear otherwise.

“Every football club needs clarity, from the top right the way through. The new owners have been very respectful. I can't say enough of them, the way they've gone about their business.

“It's up to me, in the near future anyway, to try to get better.”

As for the match itself, Bruce added: “We were beaten by the better team after a wonderful start.

“Problems that we've had for a while now defensively were there for all to see unfortunately.

“We've started a few games like that, we've got off to a good start and scored, got our noses in front, unfortunately we're not able to defend well enough as a team.

“From front to back at the moment, we're not defending well enough. We've tried to change, to be more on the front-foot if that's the right word you say these days, but it's difficult because you get yourself having to score three goals to win a match.”

Asked if the club is in a relegation battle, Bruce said: “Have we not been in that for five of the last six years? I would think so.

“We’ve been up against it since I picked up the reins. To finish 12th and 13th, I found that very respectable for where we are at the moment.

“I’m still convinced we’ll win a relegation battle again, but of course if you’re in the bottom half of the division, then you’re in a relegation battle, if that’s the way you want to put it so early.”

Updated: October 17th 2021, 7:39 PM
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