Steve Bruce confident he is right man to drag Newcastle out of slump

Steve Bruce remains convinced he is the right man to drag Newcastle out of a demoralising slump.

The Magpies are without a win in 10 games in all competitions and have collected just two of the last 24 Premier League points they have contested, slipping inexorably down the table as a result.

Perhaps more worryingly, they have scored only a single goal in their last eight outings to leave head coach Bruce facing an angry backlash from fans ahead of Tuesday night’s increasingly-crucial home fixture against Leeds.

However, asked if he still believed he was the right man for the job, the 60-year-old said: “Well, I’ve been in it a long, long time, I’ve been in this situation before and you draw on your experience with it.

“There’s no doubt at all it’s difficult, but I’m still convinced, ‘yes’, is the answer to your question.

“It’s my job to take training, be involved with training, go to work with the coaches and get the team as best prepared as I possibly can.

“All of that experience that I’ve had over the years, you draw on it a little bit to try to get you out of what is a difficult situation, let’s be honest.

“The one thing I’ll never do, though, is shy away from it. I’ll get stuck into it and try as best I can.”

Geordie Bruce arrived at his hometown club to take up his dream job in the summer of 2019 knowing he was not a popular choice to replace Rafael Benitez, and any goodwill he managed to accrue by securing a 13th-place finish at the end of last season, has since evaporated.

Some fans mounted a protest outside St James’ Park in the wake of Saturday evening’s 2-0 defeat at Aston Villa, displaying a banner aimed at owner Mike Ashley which bore the message “Act late, seal your fate”.

The club has been relegated twice during Ashley’s near-14-year reign, but it is understood he has no immediate plans to act – indeed, he has sanctioned ongoing efforts to add Bournemouth coach Graeme Jones to the staff – as he presses ahead with legal efforts to revitalise a largely Saudi-funded takeover.

Asked about the protest, Bruce, who is no longer speaking to the written media as a result of recent coverage, said: “Look, I can understand their disappointment.

“We’ve been on a poor run and I can understand how they feel. All I can do is try to get the team in as good a shape as I possibly can and win tomorrow night.

“You’re disappointed when you hear things like that, but all I can do is keep trying to be focused on the match ahead.

“You’ve got to draw on your experience and handle it with a bit of respect and a bit of dignity and go to work, basically.”