16 Aug Newcastle boss Bruce confident ahead of Carrow Road trip
Steve Bruce will head for former club Norwich on Saturday desperate for a win to kick-start Newcastle’s season after a summer of discontent on Tyneside.
The 58-year-old Geordie walked into his dream job when he accepted controversial owner Mike Ashley’s offer of employment in July amid supporters’ despair at Rafael Benitez’s departure.
He did so knowing he was on a hiding to nothing with sections of the fanbase fuming at the Spaniard’s exit, and the dissenters grew more vocal after last Sunday’s opening Premier League defeat by Arsenal at St James’ Park.
However, he will arrive at Carrow Road confident that victory over the promoted Canaries, the club which gave him his big chance as a player, would quell some of the disapproval.
Bruce said: “Whatever league you are in, if you’re a manager, the one thing you always want is a decent start, and not everyone can get it.
“But I do believe that we will get better as we go on. We have brought four or five players in and the vast majority of them only came in last week, so we need them to settle down and get used to what playing in the Premier League is all about.
“But of course it would settle everybody down if you could get a nice positive result.”
Newcastle did not win their first league game last season until November at the 11th time of asking and given the atmosphere on Tyneside, Bruce is unlikely to be afforded the patience Benitez enjoyed at the time.
He will set off for Norfolk knowing he might have been doing so in slightly better shape had his team not contrived to gift Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang the only goal in a tight game last weekend after substitute Jetro Willems had allowed Ainsley Maitland-Niles to intercept Paul Dummett’s pass.
However, the Magpies’ head coach accepted his share of the blame after the apparent confusion which had greeted the former Eintracht Frankfurt player’s introduction minutes earlier.
He said: “I put Jetro on in midfield, where he played all last season for Frankfurt, and then very quickly thought, ‘It’s a bit unfair on him because he’s making his debut I will put him on in his favoured position’, so I switched him very, very quickly.
“We’ve made a mistake, but he wasn’t the only one who made a mistake in the build-up to the goal. We’ve made a mistake, two or three people have made that mistake and you make a mistake in the Premier League, you get punished.”