Steve Bruce on the Magpies' injury challenges and taking on Jose Mourinho

Steve Bruce and Jose Mourinho face off on Sunday Credit: PA Images

Newcastle head coach Steve Bruce has expressed his "hugest respect" for Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho ahead of the coaches' clash on Sunday.

Discussing some of the criticism that has been levelled at Mourinho recently, Bruce said he could not understand it and that he believed Mourinho's achievements were second only to Sir Alex Ferguson.

Jose Mourinho has won several major trophies in his career Credit: PA Images

The much-travelled Portuguese finds himself under pressure to deliver a trophy - something he has done frequently throughout his managerial career to date - for Spurs this season after taking up the reins in November last year.

However, Bruce said he was at a loss as to why Mourinho was receiving flak.

He said: "It gives me all the encouragement that I need that people can criticise Jose Mourinho.

"Let's be brutally honest here, he's going to go down in folklore for what he's already achieved.

"What he's won is probably only bettered by Sir Alex, so how he gets criticised is ridiculous because he is one of the great coaches, managers, certainly of the last decade or two.

"I've got the hugest respect.

I know how difficult a job it is to go and win things like he's done in every country he's been to, and the trophies he's won and what he's achieved, where he started from, where he is, you can only take your hat off to him and say as a fellow coach, manager, 'Well done'.

Steve Bruce

"He's been terrific and he still is."

Bruce will pit his wits against Mourinho in North London having himself endured a week of hugely contrasting fortunes.

Newcastle turned in a disappointing display last weekend to lose 3-0 at home to Brighton in the Premier League but, despite making nine changes, went on to deliver a resounding 7-0 thumping of League Two Morecambe in the Carabao Cup in midweek.

Bruce said: "I'm delighted with the response but we've got to find that consistency so we don't throw in a Brighton.

"They've certainly done their bit - let's hope I do my bit by picking the right team."

Bruce's hand could be forced to an extent by injuries, with full-back Jamal Lewis a doubt after being kicked in the face by Brighton midfielder Yves Bissouma while striker Allan Saint-Maximin is battling against a twisted ankle.

Bruce said: "Lewis has got an awful eye injury. He's got a bad cut on it and we understand now the way things are with blood, so we're just going to see how he is.

"Allan has got a slightly twisted ankle, so we'll see how he is too."

Newcastle United take on Tottenham Hotspur in North London on Sunday. Kick off is at 14:00.