Steve Bruce: Newcastle criticism embarrassing at times
Newcastle boss hails his staff and players after victory at Tottenham
By Matt Storey
Last Updated: 26/08/19 8:40am
Steve Bruce hailed his Newcastle players for their display at Tottenham, before labelling criticism in the past week as "embarrassing".
Summer signing Joelinton netted the only goal of the game as Newcastle upset Spurs and picked up their first points of the season at the third time of asking.
Bruce said he was 'delighted' for his staff and the Newcastle squad, before hitting back at criticism that he feels has been over the top in the opening two weeks of the season.
"I am delighted for my staff and the players who have responded in the right way. It is OK talking about tactics and discipline but they have got to go out on the pitch and perform," Bruce said.
"They went out there for the 90 minutes and they were brave. Of course, we rode our luck a bit but overall I thought we thoroughly deserved it.
"We have had a tough week so the one thing you have to do is respond in the right way. Thankfully, we have done that. That's the important thing."
He continued: "We can't do a warm-up? Tactics? It's embarrassing, some of the stuff. The only way you can respond to it is with the team putting in a performance like that. The organisation was there for everyone to see.
"I have managed 900-odd games over 20 years. You would think there would be some respect. But I go back to the fact that whoever was going to replace Rafa [Benitez] was going to have a tough time.
"The easiest thing would have been to have said no to the challenge. But I am as determined as I have ever been to take the club forward. Days like today I will remember for a long time."
Bruce, who was born and raised in Newcastle but managed Sunderland previously, was not a popular appointment in the summer following the much-loved Rafael Benitez's departure.
He admitted that he has been surprised at the level of blow-back from Magpies supporters, even if he knew it would be difficult for Benitez's successor.
"As I said at the time, I was totally selfish to take it. I knew it was going to be difficult, if I'm going to be brutally honest, I didn't think it was going to be that difficult from day one and we hadn't even played a game," he added.
"I understood that whoever came after Rafa was going to have a rocky ride, I just hope that we can now just get on with trying to take the club forward and unite the supporters.
"The supporters will have witnessed the team today, and it's vitally important they have an association with the team. They'll have enjoyed watching their team today.
"For me personally, managing this club is up there with anything I've ever done. I was even asked on Friday if I regret taking it. How can I regret taking it? You have to put up with a bit of flak every now and then, but I've been given a wonderful opportunity."
Souness: Newcastle can play like this... Rafa did it!
Speaking on Sky Sports after the game, Graeme Souness says that while Bruce's Newcastle can play defensively against top-six sides, they will have to take the game to lesser opposition.
"Of course [the criticism against Bruce] hurts," said Souness. "It would have hurt him. I always question those who are actually being critical, what they'd actually done in the game, and take some comfort from that.
"I think Newcastle going forward have to accept that there is a gap between the top six and the rest, and when they play against big teams they can play like they did today. Rafa did it.
"But when they play their next home game against Watford, who are bottom of the league, they can't play like that, they'd want them to go at Watford."