Pep Guardiola came to the defence of ‘exceptional gentleman’ Steve Bruce following his recent departure from Newcastle United earlier this week.
A decision that looked on the cards following the completion of the club’s Saudi Arabian-backed takeover, Bruce left the Magpies by mutual consent on Wednesday after a difficult start to the Premier League season.
Newcastle are yet to win in the league this season, having collected just three points from 24 on offer.
The 60-year-old subsequently suggested it could be his final managerial role due to the abuse he received during his two-year tenure.
“I think this might be my last job. It’s not just about me, it’s taken its toll on my whole family because they are all Geordies and I can’t ignore that,” Bruce told The Telegraph.
“By the time I got to Newcastle, I thought I could handle everything thrown at me but it has been very, very tough.
“To never really be wanted, to feel that people wanted me to fail, to read people constantly saying I would fail, that I was useless, a fat waste of space, a stupid, tactically inept cabbage head or whatever. And it was from day one.”
Newcastle’s Allan Saint-Maximin paid tribute to the ‘gentle’ and ‘caring’ Bruce, and Manchester City boss Guardiola believes that the winger’s social media post epitomised the respect warranted by the ex-Manchester United defender, who took charge of his 1,000th game as a manager in Sunday’s defeat by Tottenham.
You are, without a doubt, one of the most gentle people that I have ever met in the world of football. You have been a man of your word, a caring man and a fair man who never hesitated to protect us. I will never forget how you treated me, for that I will be forever grateful pic.twitter.com/lJgSL5GD4Q
— Allan Saint-Maximin (@asaintmaximin) October 20, 2021
Addressing the media ahead of City’s trip to Brighton and Hove Albion, Guardiola said: “I read the post on Twitter and Instagram from Saint-Maximin.
“This is, for me, what Steve Bruce is – [he is] an exceptional gentleman. He always took care of me so nicely when I came here from Catalonia. I wish him all the best.
“I’ll tell him ‘don’t pay much attention to the comments because it is bull****.’
“Steve Bruce and all other managers want to do the best; sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. He does not have to worry. I’m pretty sure all the people in Newcastle – the board and especially the players – know exactly what Steve is.”
It was a sentiment echoed by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who told a news conference: “Is it social media? Don’t read it, don’t watch it, especially not in average or bad periods. That’s the best advice you can give to every manager in the world.
“I’m really sorry for Steve Bruce if that happened. I think the most important skill in modern football for a manager is to not let criticism get too close to you or just ignore it. That’s what I do.”
Rafael Benitez preceded Bruce at St James’ Park, and was a popular figure with the club’s fanbase. The current Everton boss has ruled himself out of contention to take over at Newcastle, however.
Asked if such harsh criticism could possibly lead potential managers to stay away from coaching, Benitez said: “Not for me at Newcastle or here at Everton. You have to accept that in football if you win, everything is fine, if you lose, you can lose your job.
“This is the situation for many years, in a lot of countries.
“My relationship with the Newcastle fans is fantastic, my relationship with the people in the city was very good so I have good memories. At the same time, I do not want to see any manager lose his job, that is the only thing I can say.”
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