Steve Bruce talks up Newcastle United team spirit as late Aston Villa drama prevents drop into Premier League bottom three

Aston Villa’s late win over Fulham has staved off the threat of Newcastle United dropping into the Premier League bottom three for another week – turning two points dropped into a seemingly valuable one earned.

Sunday, 4th April 2021, 6:23 pm
Newcastle United's English head coach Steve Bruce looks on from the sidelines during the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur at St James' Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on April 4, 2021.

Former Magpies striker Aleksandar Mitrovic looked to be sending the Cottagers out the bottom three on goal difference but three quickfire goals in the last 12 minutes at Villa Park ensured the gap opened up to three, following on from Newcastle’s 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur.

And Steve Bruce believes in earning a Spurs point his players have proved a point about team spirit, firing back at recent criticism of togetherness, or a lack of it, within the camp.

"That is the thing that frustrates us all,” he said of recent criticism.

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"The mole in the dressing room, (reports of) players unhappy, all that nonsense.

"It matters to the players. They have a certain spirit, which they need to have in this situation.

"I have got no problems with the spirit, they are a really good group who want the club to succeed.”

Bruce recalled Matt Ritchie for the Spurs clash after his recent training ground fall out, and Sean Longstaff and Dwight Gayle were also brought into the side after disagreements with the head coach.

Addressing player unrest and fall outs, Bruce said: “I had a row, or a word of disagreement. I am sure you have a word with your bosses.

"I never hold a grudge. As soon as I have a row or a disagreement it is forgotten the next day.”

United remain 17th in the table, three points above Fulham having played a game less.