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'To say I cannot even do a warm up is mad' - Bruce responds to critics after shock Spurs win

Former Magpies striker Michael Chopra has led the dissent against the new manager in the early weeks of the season.

Steve Bruce gestures during his side's win against Spurs today.
Steve Bruce gestures during his side's win against Spurs today.
Image: John Walton

STEVE BRUCE ADMITTED Newcastle’s shock 1-0 win at Tottenham was the perfect way to silence his critics.

Newcastle earned the first points of Bruce’s reign thanks to Joelinton’s clinical first half strike.

It was a much-needed success for Bruce, who has come under fire right from his first day in the job.

The boyhood Newcastle fan left second-tier Sheffield Wednesday to succeed the popular Rafael Benitez in the close-season, but Bruce was seen as an uninspired appointment by many fans and defeats in their first two games did little to change that opinion.

Adding to the pressure on Bruce, former Newcastle forward Michael Chopra claimed some of the club’s current players had told him they were uninspired by his methods in training and the pre-match warm-up before last week’s loss at Norwich.

Against that backdrop, Bruce acknowledged it was a relief to take three points in north London.

“The only way we can respond to criticism is like that. We came to this fantastic stadium, this fantastic club and we performed,” Bruce said. 

“I mean, to say I ‘cannot even do a warm up’ is mad. I have managed 900-odd games and over the years you would think there would be some sort of respect but I go back to the fact that whoever took over from Rafa Benitez was going to get the abuse.

“I hope this is a line in the sand. We have had a tough week so we have had to respond in the right way and thankfully the players have.”

Bruce revealed Newcastle’s players had prepared for the match by watching some of England’s incredible victory over Australia in the third Ashes Test on television in the changing room.

“I think everyone is shattered not just for the game, we had the cricket on in the run up to the game! It took over in the dressing room for half an hour,” he added.

Tottenham’s first defeat of the season sparked an angry reaction from boss Mauricio Pochettino.

“We didn’t perform as we expect. It was a very cheap goal, like against Aston Villa,” Pochettino said.

“We didn’t create enough chances. We didn’t find the capacity to break down their defensive line.

“I’m very disappointed with the performance and with the result.

“Sometimes it’s not about possession, it’s about individual actions and today we didn’t show the type of quality we needed.”

- © AFP, 2019

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