Steve Bruce on Newcastle's schedule: It's tough but bring it on
Watch Bournemouth vs Newcastle on Wednesday night, live on Sky Sports Premier League; kick-off 6pm
Last Updated: 01/07/20 6:07am
Newcastle boss Steve Bruce says of the congested fixture list that will see his side play their fourth game in eleven days on Wednesday: "Bring it on."
Bruce's side were beaten 2-0 by Manchester City in Sunday's FA Cup quarter-final, their first loss since returning to action following the season's disruption due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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On Wednesday, Newcastle take on Bournemouth live on Sky Sports Premier League, looking to build on the four league points they took from a win over Sheffield United and a draw with Aston Villa. It will be the Magpies' fourth game in eleven days, but Bruce refused to complain and said all teams are in an identical situation.
"Look, it's the same for all of us, we'll all be saying the same thing," Bruce told Sky Sports News. "It's a time where we will be using a few of the other players who are fresher and I think that's vitally important.
"It's different and it's very difficult to manage, but the one thing about it is we're all in the same boat, the games are coming thick and fast - so let's bring it on."
The trip to the Vitality Stadium is the first post-lockdown away game for Newcastle. Bruce says while games away from home are less difficult when there are no fans present, a "desperate" Bournemouth team trying to avoid relegation will still provide a steep challenge.
"I think when you look at the Premier League results, certainly it's mirroring the Bundesliga a little bit where there's more wins away from home than there actually is at home," he said.
"[Bournemouth are] fighting for their lives, we know what to expect. We've got some big games against the bottom teams and the top teams, so let's be ready for the challenge of Bournemouth because they're desperate for a few points."
When asked if his team had enough points in the bag to avoid relegation themselves, Bruce said with a smile: "We've got to a certain level, yeah, but it's Newcastle. You can never count your chickens, can you?"
The 59-year-old challenged his side, who on the surface have little to play for in the league this season besides a top-10 finish, to finish strongly and show they are a better team than they have been over the last five years.
"We've given ourselves a really decent platform with six or seven games to go," Bruce said. "Over the last five years, we've averaged something like 42 points.
"Let's see if we can finish above that; that's the aim for everybody now. Let's see where we can finish - can we have a strong finish and see where that takes us?"