Daily Express

Bruce comes out fighting in grilling from his own fans

- By Simon Bird

STEVE BRUCE fronted up to disgruntle­d Newcastle fans by taking critical calls on the radio and declared: “It’s still my dream job.”

The Newcastle manager was accused of “talking the Toon down,” not making quick progress and ruining the seventh best defence in the Premier League.

Other supporters questioned his brand of football and the ambition of his side.

But Bruce refused to hide when grilled on BBC Radio Newcastle just four days after starting the season with a 4-2 defeat at home to

West Ham, and said: “I’m a fan myself. I want the best for this great club, which is to win something. I was like a kid in a sweet shop when I was offered the job. It is my dream job.

“Winning a trophy has become difficult, because of the power of the top six, maybe top eight. I got to a cup final with Hull, Wigan have done it, and Leicester have. The fans here want it more than any other team.”

Bruce was taken on by a fan who said the manager was downbeat before games.

He replied: “Point taken. I will try to address that.We are up against Europe’s most outstandin­g teams. I don’t want to undervalue or belittle our club in any way. We have the nucleus of a very good squad and if they stay fit I know we are capable of taking on anyone.”

Bruce, who has yet to see £40million record signing Joelinton, below, live up to his price tag two years after joining, knows he cannot spend hundreds of millions in one transfer window.

So when asked when fans could expect the brand of football, and results, to improve, Bruce said: “In two years you had four transfer windows. We have brought in Willock. We

have got Miguel Almiron, Joelinton and Callum Wilson. The team is improving.

“The brand of football is a debate. You have to be a bit pragmatic at times. Fans want to see goals and entertainm­ent. It is getting the balance right. We have got to be better than avoiding relegation. If the big players stay fit, I am hopeful we’ll be better than last year.”

On the social media abuse he has received, Bruce said: “No one likes to be criticised. From day one I knew I’d not be everyone’s cup of tea. I try to win them over and that is by results.

“If criticism is balanced and constructi­ve, fine, you accept it.A few on social media just want to be destructiv­e.”

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