Steve Bruce has been speaking to BT Sport following our 1-1 draw with Aston Villa – a game we very nearly lost if it wasn’t for a 94th minute equaliser from Jamaal Lascelles.
The NUFC boss remains ‘convinced’ we’ll have enough to survive and feels we had the better chances to win it on Friday night – despite accepting there wasn’t much in it.
He’s also jumped to the defence of Joelinton, feeling his all round performance made up for his lack of quality or conviction in the final third.
Here’s what he’s had to say on the Brazilian’s display, Villa’s ‘fluke’ goal, our battle to stay up and ‘unbeaten run’ – with it bizarre that he’s wording it this way when some feel our failure to beat Wolves, West Brom and Aston Villa will come back to bite us!
Bruce on the 1-1 draw:
“There wasn’t much in it, was there?
“We’ve had the best opportunities and the best chances so I suppose… the goal that they score is a bit of a fluke.
“The one thing you have to do is show a little bit of desire to get back into it and we have done that. We’ve managed to scrape something out of it and we at least deserved that.”
Bruce on Joelinton:
“Look, he’s come in for a lot of criticism, Jo, but he’s contributed to the team and his performance…
“Of course he needs to score the goal and be the hero but that hasn’t quite happened for him yet.
“He’s performing as well as he can do and I’m sure there’s a goal around the corner.
“His all-round performance, we’re pleased with him.”
Bruce on the relegation battle:
“There’s still ten games. We’re unbeaten in our last couple – we’d have loved to have won one of them, that helps – we’ve got to still show the same attitude.
“Our big players are around the corner, that will certainly help. We’ve been a bit hampered. To miss one is cruel enough, to miss three…
“I’m still convinced we’ll be ok.”
Bruce on the pressure he’s under to keep us up:
“Look, you gain from your experience. There’s no question managing Newcastle is always difficult.
“There’s a huge spotlight we’ve got over us. A magnificent support which is demanding of course, and that’s the way it should be.
“I’m ready for the challenge. I’ve been on the block a long time and those experiences, I hope, will prove vital.”