‘I haven’t turned it around’ – Steve Bruce knows Newcastle still have work to do

Newcastle manager Steve Bruce insists one victory at Everton does not mean he has turned things around at the club.

Callum Wilson scored twice in the last 17 minutes at Goodison Park to end a run of nine Premier League matches without a win.

It might have eased the pressure on Bruce, whose side had previously lost five in a row, but he knows it will count for nothing if they do not build on it, starting on Tuesday against Crystal Palace, who are only four points ahead of them.

“I haven’t turned it around now just because of one performance,” said the Magpies boss.

“There were little signs against Villa in the second half and against Leeds the other night.

“I hope if, in time, we stay fit and healthy we will be OK. I was (always) convinced of that.

“We have seen two centre-halves (Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez) come out of Liverpool and seen the difference.

“It just shows you need your big players on the pitch and thankfully at the moment we have a far healthier look about us on the pitch.”

While Bruce does have more options to choose from now, a first league victory at Goodison Park in a decade was not without cost.

Captain Jamaal Lascelles was forced off with a hamstring injury in the second half and looks set to be sidelined for a few weeks.

Bruce has previously spoken about the longer-term effects Covid-19 has had on some of his players – Allan Saint-Maximim has only just returned after two months out having contracted the virus – and he believes it may have contributed to Lascelles injury.

“What we have found is the lads who have been struggling with Covid is not just fatigue, it is muscle-wise,” he added.

“Of course there is no answer to it because this virus is that complicated but it has left a lot of people fatigued and with muscle problems.

“Hopefully we are over it and certainly a result and performance like that can only help.”

Bruce is still hopeful of making some additions to his squad before the transfer window closes but there may also be departures as the likes of DeAndre Yedlin and Matt Ritchie were not included in the squad against Everton.

Asked whether they were destined for an exit the manager said: “Not necessarily. I’ve had to leave five behind, which is always difficult.

“We have nearly got everyone fit but the ones we haven’t got are centre-backs. Ciaran Clark has come back in but it looks like Jamaal will miss a few weeks and we look a bit threadbare in that position.

“I think it will be a busy 48 hours for a couple of clubs and we hope we can do one or two things.”

Despite his problems at the back the clean sheet against Everton was only Newcastle’s second in their last 13 games in all competitions.

What made the difference, however, was the threat of Wilson who was responsible for all three of the visitors’ shots on target, two of which resulted in goals and the other forcing a brilliant fingertip save onto the crossbar by England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

Wilson made no mistake with his second header from a corner, in the 73rd minute, by glancing Jonjo Shelvey’s delivery from near post to far to beat Pickford.

He doubled his tally to make sure of victory in stoppage time as a quick break from an Everton corner picked him out in acres of space and he duly fired home.