This is what we will learn from Newcastle United at Selhurst Park

It’s not been the easiest week behind the scenes for Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.

It started amid a backlash against the team’s performance in last weekend’s 2-0 defeat to Chelsea, and Bruce’s preparations for tonight’s game against Crystal Palace were subsequently hit by a number of Covid-19 infections.

Three players will miss the game at Selhurst Park due to the need to self isolate.

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Then came an injury to Allan Saint-Maximin on the eve of the game, though the winger may well have found himself on the bench had he stayed fit. Saint-Maximin has struggled for form since signing a new long-term contract at Newcastle.

A season which started with so much on-field promise – the arrivals of Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser and Jamal Lewis, and a 2-0 win over West Ham United – is in danger of unravelling before the festive period.

United’s head coach – who welcomes Callum Wilson back from injury – has got a response from his players in the past after bad results and performances, and he needs a reaction at Selhurst Park tonight.

Speaking yesterday, Bruce said: “We have to accept the criticism that comes our way, move on to the next one and say 'right, let's see what we can do’.”

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Injuries and absences won’t help him, but fans don’t want to hear excuses right now. They want to see a much-improved performance.

And supporters – who have been critical of Bruce and his tactics in recent weeks – will make a further judgement tonight based what they see their club do against Palace.

Bruce needs his squad united behind him – and fans will be looking for unity.

A message from the Football Clubs Editor

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