Steve Bruce knows his future at Newcastle United is out of his hands but says clarity on his position would be for the best as the club looks to move forward under its new ownership.
A controversial, Saudi Arabian-backed takeover of Newcastle went through earlier this month, with Bruce’s position immediately cast under doubt.
Indeed, it seemed unlikely Bruce – a largely unpopular figure with Newcastle’s fanbase – would be in place to take charge of his 1,000th match as a manager against Tottenham on Sunday.
While the reports of his impending dismissal did not prove to be true just yet, Bruce’s landmark match ended in a 3-2 defeat, with Newcastle’s new owners watching on from the crowd at St James’ Park.
Callum Wilson scored inside two minutes to carry on the pre-match elation but Tanguy Ndombele and Harry Kane put Spurs ahead before a medical emergency in the crowd resulted in a lengthy stoppage in which the players left the pitch.
Spurs picked up where they left off after returning to the field, with Kane teeing up Son Heung-min, whose goal ultimately proved decisive when Eric Dier turned into his own net late on, just after Newcastle’s Jonjo Shelvey had seen red.
Newcastle are without a single win from their opening eight league games, while since Bruce took charge ahead of the 2019-20 campaign, the Magpies have dropped 28 points from winning positions in home league games, the most of any Premier League side.
With money seemingly no issue for Newcastle’s ownership, speculation over Bruce’s future is bound to continue, and where he had been bullish in his pre-match news conference on Friday, the 60-year-old was rather more downcast after the match.
“That’s for other people to decide,” Bruce told Sky Sports when asked if he believed he would still be in charge for next week’s trip to Crystal Palace.
“If I was reading everything and seeing what I was seeing last week I might not have been here today. But look, my job is to get a few results.
“Unfortunately, whether manager of Newcastle or anybody else in the Premier League, when you haven’t won in eight, you become under pressure if that’s the right word. That’s part and parcel of being in the Premier League, with the big boys, and I’ll crack on as best I can until I hear otherwise.”
3 – For only the second time in @premierleague history, three sides (Newcastle, Burnley, Norwich) still wait for their first win of the season after 8 matches (also in 2018-19 – Newcastle, Cardiff, Huddersfield). Two of those three went on to be relegated that season. Roulette. pic.twitter.com/VcBu3rsTgq
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 17, 2021
Asked if clarity on his position was required, Bruce replied: “That’s what it needs. Every football club needs clarity. From the top right the way through to everything the football club is.
“The new owners have been very respectful, I can’t say enough of them, the way they’ve gone about their business. But Rome wasn’t built in a day, so we’ve still got our failings as a team and it’s up to me, in the near future anyway, to get better.
“I’d love to say it’s been a lovely ride. It’s been difficult, but I think I’ve been in the circumstance of a lot of frustration for a lot of years.
“The people of Newcastle want to see the club move forward, we have a wonderful opportunity now and all I’ve ever wanted is to make sure this great club of ours moves forward, but that’s going to take a little bit of time.”
Bruce, however, did explain how the incident with the fan who fell ill during the first half put everything into perspective.
“Thankfully, we’re hearing that the man is okay, so it puts things into perspective a little bit,” Bruce said. “The actions that we’ve taken, it looks like it’s good news, which I’m delighted for, and of course his family.”
It was a sentiment echoed by Nuno Espirito Santo, with Spurs players Sergio Reguilon and Eric Dier both acting swiftly in alerting the referee and medical staff to the situation in the crowd.
“Credit to how they [Spurs players] reacted to what was happening in the stands and credit to Andre [Marriner], the referee,” Nuno said in a news conference.
“He made the right decision. It was no condition to continue game. He stopped, spoke to us and explained what was happening. Thank God the person is stable and good, this is really good news.”
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