Steve Bruce retains the support of Newcastle owner Mike Ashley, despite fans urging him to be sacked following defeat against Sheffield United.
The pressure on Bruce increased on Tuesday night after the magazines recorded their first league victory of the season against the boring Newcastle, who have now been unable to win in their last eight matches.
Despite unrest among the club’s fans, it is understood that Ashley has a healthy working relationship with Bruce, who he believes remains the right man to turn results around and shape himself and, more importantly, keep Newcastle away from the relegation zone.
Newcastle are currently eight points away from relegation after a good start to the season, but Fulham in 18th place have two games in hand.
Speaking after Tuesday’s loss, Bruce said he would not walk away from the club and the subject of his future is that other people should answer, but insisted that he took full responsibility for the defeat.
“I will never walk away from a challenge,” he told reporters. “I’ve been in it long enough to have that respect, but I especially understand watching the first half – we were not good enough and I take responsibility for that because I chose the team.”
Ashley – in addition to the fans – is desperate to keep the club in top class.
Ashley’s patience is expected to run thin if Newcastle were drawn into the bottom three and a dogfight to survive, but their early season form has given them – as it seems – a bit of a pillow.
Bruce has been told he will not have any money to spend during the January transfer window and he hopes to get one or two loan signings before the month is out.
Sky Sports Footballs Adam Bate:
Newcastle supporters saw it come a mile away. This was Sheffield United, without a win this season, without a win for six months. A team not only devoid of confidence, but already down in the eyes of many. Of course, they should get better from Steve Bruce’s side.
What might have shocked even the Newcastle manager’s more ardent critics was how his side apparently allowed the opposition to play its way back into shape. They were architects, chairmen, builders and advertisers for their own downfall as they lost 1-0 at Bramall Lane.
Bruce can point to Ryan Fraser’s red card at the end of the first half and argue that this was the decisive moment in the match, but the problems were clear well before that.
It was there in the cautious election that saw Newcastle go with five behind. It had almost worked to strangle Arsenal on Saturday, but here it sent the message that it was best to keep it tight even against the bottom club.