Soccer

‘There were large parts I was pleased about’ – Steve Bruce defends Newcastle display after Aston Villa loss

Steve Bruce looks on during the Premier League match at Aston Villa


Steve Bruce insists he was “pleased” about “large parts” of Newcastle’s performance in the 2-0 loss to Aston Villa, despite seeing his side extend their winless streak to 10 matches.

The Magpies are just seven points clear of the relegation zone after a fifth consecutive defeat, as the pressure mounts on Bruce.

But the Newcastle boss took a positive spin on the defeat to Dean Smith’s side at Villa Park, following goals from Ollie Watkins and Bertrand Traore.

“We’ve gifted them a goal and after that it was difficult, but there were large parts of it that I was pleased about,” Bruce told Sky Sports. “I’ve seen enough to be encouraged. There was enough there to work on.

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“It’s always the difficult part [to attack], we’ve found it extremely difficult to score a goal. Another game Tuesday, let’s get ready.

“I’ve seen enough, them two coming on, one or two get back fit, we’ve got a problem at centre-back. Big players are the ones who can create, they’re coming back to fitness.

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“We’re half-way, we’ve been stuck on 19 points, we’ve had a difficult period. I’ve seen enough of the team and what they’re capable of to try and finish where we finished last season [13th, 10 points above the relegation zone].

“I’ve been criticised for everything, I don’t necessarily agree with that either [accusations that the style of play is too negative]. Of course we’re not going to be entertaining or open, if we go that way, I don’t think we’ve got enough. We’ve got to tighten up defensively.”

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