Steve Bruce warns Newcastle must improve if they are to avoid another relegation scrap

Newcastle registered only 28 per cent possession against Brighton last week, with Bruce saying his players have to improve against Leicester

Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce could find few positives from last week's 0-0 draw at home to Brighton. Reuters
Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce could find few positives from last week's 0-0 draw at home to Brighton. Reuters

Steve Bruce has fired a warning shot at his players to improve on last week's showing against Brighton & Hove Albion if they want to avoid another season of struggle.

Newcastle registered only 28 per cent possession and were outplayed for large portions of the match by Brighton during last week's Premier League stalemate at St James' Park.

Bruce and his players were booed off the pitch at both half-time and full-time by their own fans.

Though he tried to highlight what few positives were there, Bruce acknowledged to reporters ahead of Sunday's match against Leicester City that his players simply were not good enough against the Seagulls.

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"Listen, we didn't play well, we didn't play well enough with or without the ball," Bruce admitted.

"Does it concern me? It always concerns a coach or a manager when you don't play well enough. It is disappointing.

"But we didn't lose the game. Yes, we have to improve. If we're going to make a fist of it this year, we have to be better than we were last week, quite simply.

"It's another opportunity on Sunday. We've got a few back from injury, which will make us it slightly better, I hope, and we'll crack on."

Bruce can call on the services of Sean Longstaff to compensate for the loss of Jonjo Shelvey to a hamstring problem, but the Newcastle manager knows his side will have to be at their best to stifle Brendan Rodgers' high-flying Leicester.

The Magpies lost on penalties when the sides met on Tyneside in the Carabao Cup in August, but the stakes will be considerably higher at the King Power Stadium this weekend.

"It was one of the great achievements when they won the Premier League, and how we all were delighted that a small club – no disrespect to Leicester ... It was fantastic for everybody.

"Since then, they have obviously made a couple of changes, brought in Brendan and are playing in a certain way, but what you can't underestimate is that the core of the team that's been together a long time is very, very good from the goalkeeper to the centre-backs to the midfield players, and they're a very good side.

"Whether they will get into the top six remains to be seen."

Published: September 28, 2019 03:39 PM

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