Steve Bruce insists it would’ve been ‘easy’ to say no to Mike Ashley and accepts he’s ‘not Rafa’, but has vowed to ‘give it everything’ after being appointed the new head coach of Newcastle.
A short statement from the 58-year-old was shared on the club’s website following his appointment on Wednesday, however he’s now spoken out in full during a chat with NUFC TV, being his first big interview since he arrived in China on Thursday morning.
Here’s what he had to say about his ‘dream’ move to Newcastle, with him touching on Rafa Benitez, admitting to some past regrets and accepting the ‘challenge’ ahead:
“I’m like every other Geordie, I’ve lived the dream – If you can’t play for them if you are a Geordie, then what better than to take the number one seat.
“I am delighted to be given the opportunity, I will do my best.
“I know in some people’s eye I’m not Rafa and I understand that, there’s big shoes to fill. But believe me, I will give it everything I possibly can and hopefully prove the doubters wrong.
“The easy thing would have been for me to say no…but at this stage of my career now…back a few years ago I regretted it (not taking the job). I regretted it and it lingered around me for years when Sir Bobby left (and Graeme Souness got the job).
“So to be given the opportunity again, it is something I simply had to take.
“I had to grasp it, I knew it was going to be difficult. I just hope that people show the respect which you obviously only by getting a few results and doing the job, but hopefully that’ll go hand in hand.
Bruce then discussed what he makes of the squad with just three weeks left until the transfer window closes, admitting that we are short in attacking areas after Rondon and Perez’s exits:
“When you get the call, the first thing you look at is the squad and of course we’re aware we’ve lost Rondon and Jose (Ayoze Perez). So we are short in that little area, so we are working on that.
“But the squad is littered with some very good players.
“That’s why it has been able to stay in the Premier League and it is now my job to move us forward.
Finally, Bruce then touched on the current injuries issues ahead of Saturday’s Asia Trophy clash with West Ham, saying Gayle is a ‘big worry’ after picking up a calf problem:
“If there’s anybody struggling a bit (for Saturday) then we won’t risk it.
“Dwight Gayle unfortunately got a bit of a calf (injury), so he is a big worry.
“So we will pick a team (against West Ham) and see we can do.”