Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce looking for reaction at Watford

The Magpies were are looking to bounce back from a 5-0 midweek drubbing at Manchester City

Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce looks on during the recent game against Southampton
Image: Steve Bruce's Newcastle was comprehensively beaten by Manchester City on Tuesday night

Newcastle head coach Steve Bruce is looking for a response from his side at Watford following the 5-0 midweek drubbing to Manchester City.

The defeat at the Etihad Stadium was the Magpies' first in the league since their return from lockdown with, Bruce's side moving clear of the relegation zone.

Bruce said: "It's the manner of it [the defeat against City]. I still thought we could have done better than we did, that's for sure.

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Newcastle manager Steve Bruce admits his side are missing the support of their home fans at St James' Park

"The mark of a good team and the honesty of your team is how you respond to a beating, and I'm sure we will be better.

"We've had a couple of awful results this season and we've responded in the right way and if we take Manchester City out of the equation, since we've been back, we've done okay.

"It's important that we try to finish it off."

Captain Jamaal Lascelles and forwards Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron all missed the Manchester City defeat through injury, but could return at Vicarage Road.

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And although Bruce is not making any excuses for the performance, he readily admits the trio's return will be a welcome boost for the run-in.

"We'll know a little bit more this afternoon when we train, but I hope Almiron, Saint-Maximin and the skipper [Lascelles] will be okay. We'll see how they are after training.

"That would give us a hand. Unfortunately the other night - and I'm not trying to make excuses, we were badly beaten - we had too many of our big players not available and it turned into one of those awful nights for us."

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