Steve Bruce ready to accept ‘fully justified’ criticism after Carabao Cup exit

Steve Bruce admitted he will have to accept the wave of criticism which will come his way after Newcastle crashed out of the Carabao Cup at Brentford.

The Magpies had a golden chance to reach a first major cup semi-final in 15 years, and a first in this competition since 1976.

But following a 1-0 defeat in west London, Bruce is only too aware that large swathes of a disgruntled Toon army will once again be calling for him to be sacked.

Bruce named arguably his strongest line-up but they were deservedly beaten by the Championship Bees, who actually left some of their key players on the bench.

The Newcastle boss said: “I’m not really interested in the changes Brentford made, I’m hugely disappointed that we missed a wonderful opportunity to take this club to a semi-final, where it hasn’t been for 40-odd years.

“But we simply haven’t played well enough to win the tie. We should have had enough, that’s why I went as strong as we did. Unfortunately we haven’t played well enough.

“We were too slow in possession, we didn’t do enough, we didn’t cause them enough problems, especially with the attacking players we had on the pitch. So we have to accept what’s coming our way.

“There’s no one more disappointed than me at the way we performed. I’m as frustrated, disappointed and bitterly upset as the huge following we have.

“I have to accept the criticism, which is fully justified, get ready for the challenge of a difficult Christmas period, dust ourselves down and get on with it.

“Are the players playing for me? I think they are. Maybe they’re not playing well enough, but it’s not without effort and determination.”

Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser forced good saves from Brentford keeper Luke Daniels in the first half.

But it was the Bees who made the decisive breakthrough after 66 minutes when England Under-21 midfielder Josh Dasilva tucked away a Sergi Canos cross.

Thomas Frank’s side, who are pushing for promotion once again, have now reached a major cup semi-final for the first time in their history.

“I’m delighted in many ways, first and foremost to get over the line and create a new chapter in Brentford’s history,” said Frank.

“It’s a big step for the club and shows how far we have progressed. The owner Matthew Benham deserves great credit.

“And also the way we did it. We fully deserved to win and we could have had more.

“I think they were as strong as they could be. We made changes, and we still beat them.”