With the new season almost upon us, Steve Bruce has been speaking to the press earlier today ahead of Sunday’s game at St James’ Park.
Here’s some of the key topics he discussed, with the new head coach giving his thoughts on the new signings, the boycott, the current injury list and Sundays’ opponents Arsenal:
Here’s what he started with, stating that the pressure is now on him to deliver after the club backed him with a few good signings:
“The pressure is on me now. But the minute you walk through the door the pressure is on you.
“In an ideal world you’d like six or seven weeks to prepare, but when the call came three weeks ago I was like a kid in a sweet shop.”
“ We will prioritise the cups and we want to take the club forward. We want to establish ourselves in the Premier League.”
“I want to give the fans a team they can be proud of and can associate with.”
Bruce on our new signings:
“I couldn’t be any more delighted with what we’ve brought in. We’ve brought in some very good players who I’m sure the supporters will enjoy watching .”
“Yedlin has not fully recovered from an op. Krafth brings us that experience and know-how as any team needs. He is a fully-fledged Sweden international.”
“You are always only as good as your strikers. When we come up against the big teams, defensively we will have to be spot on. But we have to cause the other teams a threat, we have that threat now (in Joelinton and Saint-Maximin).”
Bruce on the players who failed to gain moves away on deadline day:
“They have all worked hard but four or five them will not get a squad number.”
Bruce on the injury situation ahead of Sunday’s game with Arsenal:
“With the ongoing problem with Yedlin, it was vitally important we strengthened in that area.
“Dwight Gayle has a calf injury and I haven’t even seen him train yet.
“Atsu hasn’t really featured with us at all; he’s got a knee injury.
“Everybody else is OK.”
With this in mind, it looks like Matty Ritchie will make it – providing he does come through training OK.
Bruce on a boycott and planned protests:
“Everybody is entitled to boycott if that’s what they want to do. “We have to respect that.
“For me I don’t want it to upset the team and we know what a full St James’ Park can do.
“I am sure the fans will enjoy seeing the players on the pitch.”
Bruce on Andy Carroll and his striker options:
“He was in first this morning. “He is already running. “When the club sold him he was the best pound for pound centre-forward.”
“He does not have anything to prove as a footballer. When he got the move to Liverpool he was unplayable. We hope to get a few glimpses of that. He is a mature Andy Carroll. When I spoke to him he only spoke about desire .”
Bruce on Arsenal:
“They are a big club that have threats at the top of the field. I expect them to be very good and they have had a wonderful window.”
“Make no mistake – they were Europa League finalists (last season).
“They’re a big club and have been for years… You always know it’s going to be a tough game.”