Steve Bruce urges Newcastle United players to 'shut a few people up'

Steve Bruce is calling for good performances from his players. Credit: PA Images

Steve Bruce has urged his Newcastle side to "shut a few people up" by turning around their poor run of form.

Magpies boss Bruce and his players have come in for some heavy criticism from supporters lately, particularly after last week's frustrating Carabao Cup quarter-final loss to Championship side Brentford.

Newcastle are without a win in four games in all competitions - a sequence which also includes a 5-2 hammering by Leeds - but Bruce was at least pleased with the performance in the 2-0 Boxing Day loss at Manchester City.

Bruce said:

There was certainly a togetherness, an attitude and application amongst them. Yes, they were beaten by the better team on the night but the way they stuck together and had a go, I couldn't have asked for anything more. I hope that came through on the television. Certainly I witnessed that on the touchline.

Steve Bruce, Newcastle United

Of course they're only human beings - criticism hurts - but I hope I can create a mentality to make sure that we roll our sleeves up and shut a few people up, and the only way we can do that is get a few results and keep working as hard as we can.

Steve Bruce, Newcastle United

The task does not get any easier, with the City game followed by a visit from champions Liverpool on Wednesday and then another from high-flying Leicester in their first match of the new year.

Bruce is not fazed by the challenge.

He said:

When you get two or three of the big ones back to back you would like a week to recover, to make sure you get going again, and we have been pitted against probably the two best teams in the country back to back. But bring it on. Let's get ready for it, let's recover and see what we can do.

Steve Bruce, Newcastle United

Newcastle's problems have not been helped by the spate of Covid-19 infections which have swept through their club this month.

A game against Aston Villa was postponed early in December and two key players, captain Jamaal Lascelles and Allan Saint-Maximin, are still out after suffering illness.

Fabian Schar and Federico Fernandez both returned to the side against City but neither are considered to be back to full fitness.

On top of that none of Ryan Fraser, Jonjo Shelvey and Callum Wilson were risked at the Etihad Stadium because of injuries.

Bruce said:

I have been shooting in the dark a bit. I didn't think Fab Schar would be available but he trained a couple of days and said he felt fine. It'll be interesting to know how he recovers and Feddy (Federico Fernandez) is the same. It's been very difficult when you have got the numbers we have had.

Steve Bruce, Newcastle United

He added:

One thing you want is a fully-fit, healthy squad but this thing hangs around. There is slightly better news on the skipper - he's done a little bit of light stuff - but unfortunately we're still weeks away with Saint-Maximin.

Steve Bruce, Newcastle United