Steve Bruce's blunt verdict on his sloppy Newcastle United side

Steve Bruce delivered a blunt verdict on his Newcastle United side after they came from behind to claim a point from Fulham’s visit to St James’s Park.

Sunday, 20th December 2020, 11:00 am

Bruce had been looking for a reaction from his players after the midweek 5-2 defeat to Leeds United at Elland Road.

However, relegation-threatened Fulham dominated the first 45 minutes – and took the lead.

Newcastle equalised through a dispute Callum Wilson penalty, but couldn’t take advantage of their man advantage following the dismissal of Joachim Andersen. The game ended 1-1.

“We haven’t done enough today, both with the ball and without,” said Bruce, who took fatigued defender Federico Fernandez off at the break. “Even with 10 men we struggled to find any real quality to open them up.

“Certainly, we’ve had a difficult week. We’ll take the point and move on, but we have to play better.”

For the second game in a row, United couldn’t keep hold of the ball, and Fulham dominated possession up to Andersen’s dismissal.

“We kept giving the ball away,” said Bruce. “Unfortunately we did that against Leeds. If you do that at this level, then you’re going to have a struggle. We have to look after the ball better. We have to be better with it and without it. Certainly, we’ve had a difficult time.”

Steve Bruce.

And Newcastle’s head coach believes the infections, and enforced closure of the training ground, is still having an impact on his team.

"I don’t want to make excuses, but we’ve had a remarkably difficult time,” said Bruce. “When you’re having to make substitutions at half time through illness, it’s difficult.

“The last thing I want to do is make excuses, but we’re still without five or six. Of course it’s impacted us. It’s not just them getting back, it’s the after-effects that unfortunately the illness leaves them.

“I tried to make five changes to make sure we were fresh enough but we’ve got to improve. There’s no disputing that.”

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