Steve Bruce has been speaking to the local media ahead of tomorrow night’s clash with Manchester City, discussing a wide range of talking points in this morning’s press conference.
The NUFC boss confirmed he has no intention of retiring or walking away from the job this summer, insisting he’s cracking on with pre-season plans and talks over potential summer signings until he’s told otherwise.
He’s also revealed that he received a big vote of confidence from Mike Ashley when things got tough after that dismal 3-0 defeat to Brighton, claiming the Toon owner’s support was crucial at a testing time.
Elsewhere, Bruce has also confirmed that Callum Wilson’s latest hamstring injury is much more minor than the one that recently kept him out for two months, saying the striker will be missing for “two to three” weeks – also confirming Joe Willock is fit for tomorrow’s game.
The 60-year-old has also reveals the club’s aim for 2021/22, saying he and the players will be working towards a top 10 finish – believing a season where we do little other than survive is nothing to celebrate.
Bruce then did his best to backtrack after questioning fans expectations in an interview on talkSPORT this week – insisting it was worded poorly due to his “limited vocabulary” – and also went on to praise last Friday’s outstanding display at Leicester.
Here’s what he’s had to say on all of the above…
Bruce on his future heading into the summer:
‘I’ve got a contract. Until I hear otherwise, I’m going to crack on.
“I’m nowhere near ready to retire yet. We’re already talking about pre-season & discussing transfer targets.”
“We’re putting all the plans in place. Conversations will be had, and that’s what I can say on it.’
“Quietly behind the scenes we are working as normal. The big conversations are still to be had.”
“I am a football manager, I am not ready to retire yet.
“You have to dust yourself down and have a thick skin.
“I will crack on to the best of my ability. I have had to scrap and fight all my life.
“As player and manager nothing has come easy for me.
“Nothing is natural for me, so I have to work hard and dig deep and get my rewards.”
Bruce on Mike Ashley’s backing after 3-0 defeat at Brighton:
“I think it was crucial. When you are up against it is when you need your support.
“The message was clear: ‘We are 100% behind you’.
“You have to put your chest out and look for a response.
“The people that responded was the players themselves, there were questions about characters and whatever.
“It was the low point of the season. That is where you dig deep, and use your experience, we have worked tirelessly to turn the situation around.”
Bruce on securing safety & our aims for 2021/22:
“We’re not going to celebrate, that’s for sure,”
“We’ve had many, many problems with injury and Covid so if we can achieve, in terms of points, what we had last year, I’ll accept it but we’re not going to celebrate it because we all want to see Newcastle in a better position than we are.”
“Look, we all aspire to take Newcastle into the top 10.
“That’s where the supporters want to be, the players want to be and, certainly, where I want to be.
“That’s got to be our aim.”
“We all don’t want to be just always in the bottom half. We’ve got to take small steps forward – because that’s the way it is – and improve.
Bruce on Wilson’s injury & Willock’s fitness:
“Everybody is OK apart from Callum Wilson.
“In hindsight I should have taken him [Wilson] off before but it’s his other side [to his previous injury].
“Thankfully, it’s not a bad as the last one was.
“We expect it to be two or three weeks so it’s nothing like the last one which is good news but still a shame he can’t finish the season with us.”
“Joe [Willock] is OK, he’s trained all week.
“It was cramp. We all feared the worst with that but, he’s fine and he’ll play.”
Bruce on that talkSPORT interview that saw him question fan expectation at NUFC:
“Maybe I used the wrong word with expectations because what makes this club great is the supporters.
“If the fans think that I meant their expectations are too high then that’s not what I meant at all. That’s my limited vocabulary.”
“Take nothing away from them. They’re quite unique.
“They come in their thousands, they’re passionate about the club + they want the club to do well – and so do I”
Bruce on our 4-2 win at Leicester last week:
“We were very, very pleasing on the eye.
“When I watched it back, we were a threat all night on the counter attack.
“I was delighted – just at the right time we’ve produced a hell of a performance.
“I think everybody enjoyed it which we all aspire to.”