Newcastle manager Steve Bruce has vowed to stick with the Magpies, despite Saturday’s 3-0 loss to Brighton leaving them stuck in a relegation fight.
Bruce’s side were second best throughout and missed an enormous chance to climb away from the relegation zone with a victory. Instead, they remain just two points clear of 18th-placed Fulham, who have played a game more.
While survival is still in Newcastle‘s hands, the concern is that the Cottagers are playing far better football and look more likely to pick up the points needed to stay in the top flight, particularly given Newcastle’s fixture list will see them come up against six top-ten sides in their remaining nine games.
With things looking so bleak, there have been loud calls from fans for owner Mike Ashley to cut ties with Bruce in one last attempt to keep the ship afloat, but the boss was adamant that he was not going anywhere just yet.
“I accept that wasn’t good enough tonight,” he said (via Sky Sports News). “It rests at my door. I accept that and will see what develops, but I won’t give up.
“I believe [staying at the club is the best way forward], I’ve been around the block a long time. That experience, (I’ve been) trying to draw on it over the last few weeks in particular. So as I’ve said, I’m not the type to just walk away from a bad defeat, but you’re going to have to ask others.”
Numerous sources, including Sky’s Keith Downie and the Newcastle Chronicle, have reported that Ashley has decided against sacking Bruce just yet and wants to stand by his manager, whom he believes can turn things around between now and the end of the season.
“Nine games to go, we’ve been doing well of late to a degree, but we have to accept tonight we were nowhere near good enough to get a result,” Bruce continued.
“We’re aware we’re without big players, but we can’t make that an excuse for tonight. We were nowhere near the levels required, and we didn’t get there at all. With the magnitude of the game, that’s what disappoints me.
“I’ve been in it a long, long time. It’s very, very difficult, and we know what is ahead of us, but I hope I can rely on my experience. We’re still confident we can get out of the situation we are in. I’ll never give up the fight, that’s for sure.”