'The buck stops with me': Steve Bruce takes responsibility for Newcastle United's position
Steve Bruce says the “buck stops with him” as Newcastle United battle relegation.
The club is just a point above the Premier League’s drop zone ahead of tomorrow night’s home game against Aston Villa.
Bruce has come in for heavy criticism this season, though United's head coach has pointed to the impact that a Covid-19 outbreak late – and injuries to key players – have had on his team this season.
The club was 10th in the table when the training ground was closed due to coronavirus late last year. However, it has been on the slide since then, and Bruce’s team are 16th ahead of the Villa game.
Fans had been hoping to see their team push for a top-10 place following last season's 13th-placed finish – and the arrivals of Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser and Jamal Lewis last summer.
Asked if he took responsibility for the club’s position, Bruce said: “Of course. I’ve said it many, many times. The buck stops with me. I understand that, totally.
"Now the top 10 was (a target), probably because we finished 13th, and we would like to improve on what we accomplished last year. I think, with the problems we’ve had, and certainly when I analyse the season, and now’s not the particular time, but we were going along very, very nicely until Covid hit, and then the injuries to big players.
"It’s been a real, big problem to handle. So that’s what it is. That’s what we’ve been dealt with.
"At the end of the day, we’ve still got an opportunity to climb up the table and finish somewhere (close to) where we finished last year. I think all of us would accept that and take it now.
"It’s not what we set out to be, but that’s the way it is at the minute.”
Third-bottom Fulham beat Liverpool 1-0 at Anfield last weekend to put pressure on Newcastle and 17th-placed Brighton and Hove Albion.
"There’s no doubt they’ve had a really good coupe of weeks, an outstanding result at Liverpool,” said Bruce.
“So all of the bottom six or seven, we're all nervously looking over our shoulders, I'd think. We’ve all got to get to the magical figure, whatever it is."