Asked about the decision to leave the winger out, head coach Bruce said: “He was a little bit sore around the hamstring. In that respect, it was an easy decision. He was stiff and sore, and that made my mind up.”
Bruce had changed his formation for the game. Dwight Gayle, Jonjo Shelvey and Matt Ritchie were among those recalled to the starting XI.
“I was pleased with some aspects, the clean sheet,” said Bruce. “We’ve had 20 attempts, which is far more than we’ve had before. There was bits of it I was pleased with. Room for improvement. I certainly thought that we were more of a threat.”