Steve Bruce admits he has “never been blessed with wonderful ability”, as a player or manager, but has forged a career out of “never giving in”.
The pressure on Bruce has intensified since Tuesday night’s abject 1-0 defeat at struggling Sheffield United which left fans still smarting from a Carabao Cup quarter-final exit at the hands of Championship Brentford in ever more rebellious mood.
Indeed, the Newcastle United Supporters’ Trust this week wrote to the club warning they were “sleepwalking to relegation” under Bruce after seeing the Magpies slip to within seven points of the Premier League relegation zone.
But the 60-year-old former Manchester United defender Bruce is in no mood to throw in the towel.
He said: “I’ve always had the ability to roll up my sleeves and get stuck into it, and that’s what I’ll continue to do.
“I was never blessed with wonderful ability [as a player] and the same in management. But the one thing I expect is to have a reaction to it and have a bit of pride about yourself and go and not be afraid of hard work.”
Newcastle are without a win in eight games in all competitions heading into Monday night’s league trip to Arsenal and with Covid-19 still robbing them of star man Allan Saint-Maximin, things could get worse before they get better.
Asked how the criticism had affected him personally, head coach Bruce said: “Look, when I took the job, from day one it’s been personal, as far as I’m concerned. There are certain people out there who think I shouldn’t have been in the job to start with.
“All I can do is accept it, that’s what it is, try not to be too down with it because I know how quickly it changes.
“We knew we were going to have a really difficult run, so I’ve got to be ready, as ever. I’ve made a career of never giving in, so I won’t and I’ll keep trying my utmost to make us better.
“It happens too often, unfortunately, in my reign here, where we’re doing okay and then we throw a hand grenade in which blows it all up.
“Unfortunately that was the same case the other night against Sheffield and a month ago against Brentford in the cup. It’s simply not acceptable.
“I pick the team, I’m responsible for it and that’s the way it is, so I have to accept what’s coming my way.
“I don’t think all of it’s fair, but I can understand it because if I was a supporter the other day, I’d look at it and go, ‘Do you know what it is? I agree, it’s simply not good enough’.”
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