Jonjo Shelvey has called on Newcastle fans to give new manager Steve Bruce a chance.
The appointment of Bruce in succession to the popular Rafael Benitez has not been greeted with universal approval on Tyneside.
Many supporters feel the choice is uninspiring and are also not impressed by the 58-year-old’s past Sunderland connections.
He has also arrived at a time of considerable unrest after the departure of Benitez, the failure to keep key players Ayoze Perez and Salomon Rondon and continuing uncertainty over a potential takeover.
But midfielder Shelvey was immediately impressed by Bruce when he joined the squad at the Premier League Asia Trophy this week and felt his influence showed in Saturday’s 1-0 win over West Ham in Shanghai.
The 27-year-old said: “It feels like a club that is moving on a bit, I think we’ve got to do that. Rafa isn’t here anymore, we need to get on with it.
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“Steve has come in and it’s been like a breath of fresh air. The fans need to give him a chance because I think, if they do that, if we play like we did on Saturday, we will do well week-in, week-out and they won’t have any reason for complaint.
“I think Steve is more straight with you. As soon as he came in, all he expects is that you work hard. If you work hard you will be fine. That’s what we need to do.”
Shelvey insists there is plenty of character in the team and believes they can prove the doubters wrong.
He said: “We’ve constantly been told we are not good enough. People have kept telling us we were going to go down, but we’ve proven them wrong and we stayed up both times.
“The main motivation is to stay up, that’s the first target. We need to stay in the Premier League. We don’t want to drop down into the Championship, it’s getting harder and harder to get out of it.
“We don’t want to keep going down and coming back up again. We are too good for that. We need stability and we need to stay in the Premier League for a long time.”
Shelvey actually had a chance meeting with Bruce while on holiday over the summer and is now looking forward to working with the former Manchester United defender.
He said: “I saw him in the summer in Portugal and we said hello. Obviously I didn’t know he was going to end up being my manager, so it’s a good thing I did stop and say hello.
“He deserves a bit more credit than he gets. Even within two days, look at the difference from the other day. You won’t find many people who don’t speak highly of Steve.”