Why Steve Bruce sympathises with Newcastle United players ahead of 'huge' Watford clash

Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce sympathies with his players after their penalty defeat to Leicester City - but says they must be ready for the ‘huge’ game with Watford.

Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce
Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce

The Magpies return to St James’s Park for the second time in four days tomorrow afternoon having exited the Carabao Cup at the second round stage on penalties to Leicester City.

Jonjo Shelvey and Isaac Hayden were the duo who saw their spot-kicks saved by Kasper Schmeichel with Jamie Vardy successfully dispatching the decisive effort.

When asked if he needed to lift the players given how proceedings ended, Bruce replied: “You’re always disappointed to miss a penalty, of course you are.

"You know, there is nothing worse. I’ve been there, I understand how they feel but they can be pleased in that performance.”

United were credited as the better team in the second half after Yoshinori Muto levelled things up after Leicester broke the deadlock through a deflected James Maddison free-kick.

However, three points against Watford, who have lost their opening three Premier League matches, could brighten the mood on Tyneside with two wins from four matches.

“It’s a huge one,already early in the season,” Bruce said. “If we can get to six points, it will be a wonderful start.

“That’s been my aim since I walked through the door. Apart from the horrible performance at Norwich, I’ve been pleased in what we are trying to do.

“As I say, defensively we look rock-solid, we could still improve offensively with the ball but hopefully that will come.”