Nolan watched the club’s 3-1 defeat to Premier League leaders Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday.
And the former Newcastle captain has given his view on Bruce, who succeeded Rafa Benitez at St James’s Park in the summer.
Nolan, a boyhood Liverpool fan, spent a day at the club this season, and he has contrasted the mood under Bruce to when Benitez was in charge.
"Listen, I was up there just a week before the season started, and the place was buzzing," Nolan told Stadium Astro. "There were smiles on faces.
"I went up there when Rafa was there, and no disrespect to Rafa, but it was a lot more dull and a lot more, you know, everything a bit so serious. I think Steve’s brought a smile back on the lads’ faces. They all seem to be enjoying training and they all seem to be together.
"The biggest thing I brought back from that week was that they all believed that this season, it's going to be tough, but they'll be OK. And they will be pushing for that top 10.”
Nolan [email protected]: “I think they (the players) just enjoyed the fact that something different was going on.”
Benitez guided Newcastle to a 13th-placed finish in the Premier League last season despite being forced to sell to buy last summer.