Steve Bruce makes bold claim at West Bromwich Albion a year on from defiant Newcastle United vow

A year ago, Steve Bruce was under intense pressure at Newcastle United.

The club, then owned by Mike Ashley, was winless and 18th in the Premier League with just two points – and there were chants for him to go from fans.

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At the time, Bruce said: “I’ll never going to walk away from the challenge, that’s for sure. You’re asking the wrong person.”

Steve Bruce is under pressure at West Bromwich Albion.

Today, Bruce is managing West Bromwich Albion – and he’s again facing questions about his future. The team went into the international break in 21st place with one win, and seven draws, from 10 Championship games.

Bruce – who left Newcastle last October following a £305million takeover – was asked before last weekend’s game against in-form Norwich City whether he was the right person to turn thing around at The Hawthorns.

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“Always, that’s what football is,” said Bruce, who had bemoaned “hideous” defending after a defeat to derby rivals Birmingham City earlier this month.

West Brom took a well-earned point at Carrow Road, and Bruce, left “angry and frustrated” by the club’s failure to sign two more players late in the summer transfer window, was bullish ahead of a “long winter”.

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“There's a long winter ahead,” said Bruce, who appointed his son Alex to his coaching team. “What I've witnessed against the good teams – we know we're as good as anybody else.”

Bruce added: "We might have to go into the international break in the bottom three, which is absolutely bonkers considering how well we've played.

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"I understand that, we're all judged on results from afar, but those who've seen us play, know that we've played well in a large section of games.”

The Championship, which Newcastle were heading for before the club’s takeover, is an unforgiving division. And, sooner or later, West Brom need to start turning wins into draws if they are to have any chance of climbing the division. They were in fifth place, and eight points adrift of the automatic promotion places, when Bruce succeeded Valerian Ismael in February. The club finished 10th.

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Speaking after his appointment, Bruce said: “I’m coming in with one aim – and that’s to get Albion to the Premier League."

That aim is looking a forlorn one right now, despite Bruce’s autumn optimism.