Steve Bruce lays into his players for being ‘absolute SH**E’ and ‘frigging hopeless’ in defeat by Sheffield United as under-fire Newcastle boss warns the ‘gloves are off’ as he seeks to arrest their alarming slump
- Steve Bruce has held his hands up after Newcastle’s display at Sheffield United
- He admitted he picked the wrong team to play Chris Wilder’s basement side
- However, he has promised a response, insisting that the ‘gloves are off now’
- Newcastle face Arsenal in the Premier League on Monday night at the Emirates
Steve Bruce has told his Newcastle players they were ‘absolute sh**e’ and warned them: ‘The gloves are off. I’m going to do it my way’.
The Magpies boss has launched into an extraordinary response to criticism of him in the wake of Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat at Sheffield United.
Bruce swung between a stinging attack on his ‘frigging hopeless’ players and a defiant resolve to carry on how he sees best.
Newcastle boss Steve Bruce has launched into an extraordinary response to ‘unfair’ criticism
‘We were absolutely frigging hopeless the other night,’ he said. ‘Absolute sh**e we were. I have to accept it. I’ve let them (the players) be comfortable but the gloves are off now. I’m going to do it my way. I’ve said from day one the way I wanted to play and haven’t done it enough.’
Bruce has tried this tactic before, calling out his players following similar performances, and has invariably won a response.
But after eight matches without a win and just one goal scored in 10 hours, fans are calling for him to be sacked. The main supporters group contacted the club this week to warn that they are ‘sleepwalking to relegation’ under Bruce.
Newcastle slumped to defeat against bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United on Tuesday night
The head coach said: ‘If I was a supporter, I’d be concerned as well after watching the first half at Sheffield United, we were absolutely hopeless.
‘Unfortunately, in my 18 months here, we’ve thrown that hand grenade in too often for my liking. It all blows up after that.
‘In hindsight, I picked the wrong team. I have to accept the performance was nowhere near good enough and take responsibility.’
He added: ‘In some people’s eyes I was never the right choice. I can understand that.
‘But if you look at my record over the years, for being a team that is in the bottom half of the league, then I’ve got enough on my C.V. to make sure I can try and slowly take the club forward. That’s what I’m here for and that’s what I will continually try to achieve.’
Newcastle have failed to win any of their last eight matches, scoring just once in that run
Bruce, however, is wrong to suggest Newcastle’s poor performances under him are isolated – he repeatedly referenced the ‘first half’ at Bramall Lane – and the Supporters Trust made the point to the club this week, that recent form is not a surprise.
But the manager said: ‘I don’t think all of the criticism is fair, but I understand it.
‘When I took the job from day one it (criticism) has been personal. People out there think I should not be in the job to start with. I have to not get too down with it, I know how quickly it changes.
‘We have been on a difficult run. We’re not alone in that. If you’re in the bottom half you’ll have spells where you don’t win every week.
Bruce has bemoaned the ‘personal’ criticism he has received from ‘day one’ at Newcastle
‘We’re not easy on the eye. I understand that. But have Newcastle United been a good watch for years?
‘They’ve been in the bottom half of the Premier League, that’s the reality. I’m not saying it’s acceptable.’
Bruce did find time for a touch of black humour, though, when asked for his thoughts on players celebrating goals together.
‘Well, I’d like to score a goal first and then have to worry about it,’ he said.