'The expectation is way above' - Mark Hughes outlines 'unique' challenge facing under-fire Steve Bruce

Mark Hughes has claimed that under-fire Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce is facing a “unique” challenge on Tyneside.

Steve Bruce. (Photo by Adam Davy - Pool/Getty Images)
Steve Bruce. (Photo by Adam Davy - Pool/Getty Images)

The 60-year-old has come in for criticism in recent weeks, with his side winless in their last nine matches across all competitions.

The Magpies current slump has led to vocal indignation from some supporters, but Bruce’s former Manchester United teammate Mark Hughes has suggested that his old pal is coming up against an unfair level of expectation in the north east.

Speaking on Football Focus, he said: “I always look at Newcastle and think it’s quite a unique club in as much as the expectation is way above where it needs to be relative to the amount of success they’ve had in terms of major trophies.

"They haven’t won anything for a long long time, but that doesn’t lower the expectation of the city of the crowd that go to St. James’ Park. Steve knows that – he’s a local lad.

"It’s a huge job for him because he’s delighted to be at his local club. He’ll want to make a success of it, but I think sometimes the expectation at Newcastle overruns their potential, and I think that’s what Steve is struggling with at the moment.

“There’s a balance – do you make them nice and solid and not concede, but then you lessen your opportunities to score goals at the other end? That's what a little bit of the criticism of Newcastle is at the moment. They’re a little bit negative.

"I know Steve went completely the other way against Arsenal, and I know that didn’t quite work, so I hope he doesn’t get stuck.”