What Steve Bruce said after things went from bad to worse at West Bromwich Albion

It’s early days in the Championship this season, but Steve Bruce is already under pressure at The Hawthorns.

West Bromwich Albion are 20th in the table following a challenging start to the new campaign, and only goal difference is keeping Bruce’s side out of the relegation zone.

Bruce took the job midway through last season with the club sixth in the division after leaving Newcastle United in the wake of a £305million takeover. The Baggies ended the campaign out of the play-off places in 10th place.

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Things haven’t improved this season, and Bruce, “angered” by the club's failure to secure two signings late in the summer transfer window, didn’t pull too many punches after a “woeful” 3-2 home defeat to derby rivals Birmingham City last night.

“We didn’t take part in the game until the last 20 minutes,” said Bruce.

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“In a big derby we were found short. We didn’t win a challenge, and we didn’t deal with Troy Deeney and the physicality of Birmingham. We were nowhere near where we should be.”

Bruce – who said this summer that he would have retired had it not been for the “ridicule” at Newcastle – went on to lambast his team’s “schoolboy” defending.

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West Bromwich Albion manager Steve Bruce.

“Individual errors are something you can’t fix,” said Bruce, whose son Alex is on the coaching staff. “The concentration of the defenders was awful, and the goals were something you’d see on the schoolboy pitch with 11-year-olds.

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"When you defend as hideously as that, you’re in for a poor evening. It was awful. What we witnessed in the first hour was scandalous.”

Individual errors, of course, punctuated Bruce’s time as head coach at Newcastle, and the club was winless and 19th in the Premier League when he left last October.

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United’s defensive record has improved since Bruce’s departure – Eddie Howe’s much-improved and strengthened team has kept three clean sheets already this season – and there have already been calls from some West Brom fans for Bruce to go.

In Bruce’s defence, West Brom under the ownership of Guochuan Lai, seemingly like United under Mike Ashley, is not an easy club to manage.

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And things don’t get any easier this weekend, as Bruce’s side have an away fixture against in-form Norwich City, who have won their last six games.