Steve Bruce labels Michael Chopra's comments as lies amid 'relentless' criticism

Newcastle travel to Tottenham on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Premier League from 4pm; Kick-off 4.30pm

Steve Bruce, Manager of Newcastle United looks on during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Arsenal FC at St. James Park on August 11, 2019 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. 0:43
Steve Bruce dismissed recent comments made by former Newcastle striker Michael Chopra

Newcastle boss Steve Bruce has rubbished recent claims from Michael Chopra as "lies" and says it's too early for talks of a crisis at the club.

The Magpies are without a win in the Premier League this season after losing to Arsenal and Norwich in their opening two fixtures, adding to the fans' discontent after the owners failed to secure the long-term services of previous manager Rafa Benitez.

Earlier this week Chopra claimed some senior players told him they "don't know their jobs" under Bruce, but at Friday's press conference the Newcastle boss labelled the comment as "fabricated".

"The disappointing thing is people who just generally tell lies," Bruce said about criticism of the club on social media. "The Michael Chopra thing was blown out of all proportion.

"It's laughable, really, for the people in the dressing room and my staff. Some of this stuff is just nonsense, but obviously it gets mentioned regularly.

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Steve Bruce says a run of good results will push Newcastle out of the 'storm'

"I'm just surprised that people take any attention to him. Some of this stuff is just fabricated and lies. When it's like that you think 'Why is that making national headlines which is total rubbish?'

"For the past four or five weeks it's been relentless, let's make no mistake about it, but I've grown accustomed to it and if I can protect the players then I will.

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"Ultimately it's always my responsibility. I'm the one who sits here, I'm the one who talks to [the press], I'm the one who picks the team.

"No formation, no tactics, no substitutions, wrong - the whole thing at the minute. We can't even take a warm-up!

There's always a storm in Newcastle and at the minute, we're in one
Steve Bruce

"Some of it is a bit laughable but you just have to try and get through it and keep your dignity and make sure you're strong enough to see it through."

Bruce's warm-up comment related to reaction to an impromptu practice that took place on Sunday in the wake of Newcastle's 3-1 loss to Norwich. The 58-year-old said he was surprised anything had been made of the decision and that the players had no issue with it.

"They were fine with it, whether it was scheduled or not," said Bruce. "I don't know where that nonsense comes from either - we had them in on Sunday, it's something which I've done before.

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Highlights from Norwich's 3-1 win against Newcastle in the Premier League

"A lot of clubs do it now, where they're in on a Sunday and give them Monday off. That's what we did, but of course here it's sensationalised unfortunately."

Asked if criticism of the club's poor start to the season was over the top, Bruce said: "Well, it's not for me to judge on that, but other people have to be fair and responsible.

"After two games, there's a so-called mini-crisis and all the rest of it and, as you say, that is over-sensationalised. Everything seems to be that way.

"But look, I understand that, it's the nature of the club - it always has been. There's always a storm in Newcastle and at the minute, we're in one.

"The only way we can do it is to get a couple of results and the team to perform, and after two games, it's very, very early to judge just yet."

It doesn't get any easier for Newcastle, who now travel to Tottenham on Super Sunday. Bruce paid credit to Spurs, and hopes their pedigree will bring out the best in Newcastle.

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"They're a very, very good side," said Bruce. "As good as you get. One of the best teams in Europe.

"So we're under no illusions how difficult it's going to be, but hopefully it's just the right type of game for us after last week.

"Not many people give us a chance to go in there, so let's go and enjoy the occasion.

"It's a bit early to have soul-searching, we just have to perform better than we did last week, and I'm sure we will."

Watch Tottenham vs Newcastle live on Sky Sports

Tottenham vs Newcastle is live on Super Sunday from 4pm; kick-off is at 4.30pm. Sky Sports customers can watch in-game clips in the live match blog on the Sky Sports website and app.

Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.

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