"My dad is trying his best!" Alex Bruce opens up on Steve Bruce's problems at Newcastle United
The Magpies boss has come under severe pressure after a winless run of nine games, including a League Cup exit at the hands of Brentford.
Many United fans have called for Bruce to be sacked, although he still retains support from the Newcastle hierarchy.
And his son Alex has leapt to his dad’s defence, saying the 60-year-old is facing a tactical dilemma as he tries to reverse fortunes with the club being sucked into a relegation fight.
Newcastle were soundly beaten 3-0 by Arsenal on Monday night as Bruce Sr again switched formations, this time to a 4-4-2, amid calls that his approach has lacked identity and been too negative at times.
Alex told the Racing Post: "The style of play is something that my dad toys with all the time. He would love to be expansive, but with no disrespect to the players it is a difficult one.
"For example if Jamaal Lascelles is out the defence is not blessed with natural pace and if you move up the pitch and push the full-backs or wing-backs on in leaves space and the quality in the Premier League will exploit that down the sides.
"My dad's problem is he is trying to fill the gaps and if you do that it takes away in other areas and you can lose the edge going forward. But open up like they did against Arsenal and you get done on the counter and that is something my dad is struggling with at the moment.
"There will be a difference when Allan Saint-Maximin returns to full fitness. He does offer that attacking threat up front and gets Newcastle up the pitch as well as adding excitement.
"My dad can only deal with what he has got. He has a good working relationship with everyone at the club and I know for a fact he is trying his best.
"There have been some bad performances but some good ones as well. He's just got to grind it out."
Steve Bruce has vowed not to walk away from the challenge of rescuing Newcastle’s season, and while Alex admits performances have been poor of late, he insists the Magpies are where everyone expected them to be before a ball was kicked this season.
"I think they have to batten down the hatches and not listen to the outside noise,” he added.
"It's the same for all the teams down in the bottom six or eight where Newcastle are and where everyone expected them to be at the start of the season.
"There is no getting away from the fact they have had some poor performances recently, but it's also been a really difficult set of fixtures against Leicester, Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal twice, so all you can do is roll your sleeves up and dig in.
"That's all the players can do, that's all my dad can do and that's all the staff can do to try to get out of the situation.”