Steve Bruce insists Newcastle team spirit is good after draw with Tottenham

Damian Spellman, PA
·3-min read

Steve Bruce dismissed suggestions of a split in the Newcastle camp after seeing his side fight back to snatch a 2-2 Premier League draw with Tottenham.

The Magpies have endured a dreadful run of form which has now seen them win only two of their last 21 games in all competitions and slip deep into relegation trouble.

However, head coach Bruce is convinced there is a unity within the dressing room which can get them out of trouble.

He said: “That is the big thing that frustrates us all, a so-called mole in the dressing room, certain players unhappy, blah, blah, blah, the spirit is not good, this nonsense.

“A lot of players here have been here a long time and it matters to them. A lot of them were playing today who have been here four and five years, and there’s a certain spirit amongst them which they need to have because they’ve got to be at full tilt to get something out of the Premier League week in and week out.

“I’ve got no problems with the spirit amongst them. They’re a really really good group who want the club to succeed.”

Newcastle got off to the perfect start against Spurs when £40million striker Joelinton, who had not found the back of the net in the league since November 27, a run of 16 games, scored just his fourth goal in the competition with 28 minutes gone.

However, their joy was short-lived as Kane levelled within two minutes and then fired the visitors in front four minutes later, on both occasions profiting from awful defending.

The Magpies, however, refused to be beaten and got their reward with five minutes remaining when Arsenal loanee Joe Willock smashed home an equaliser off the underside of the crossbar to snatch a 2-2 draw, prompting wild celebrations on the sidelines.

Joe Willock
Joe Willock plundered a late equaliser (Stu Forster/PA)

Bruce had taken a series of bold decisions ahead of kick-off, handing midfielder Matt Ritchie a first appearance since the pair were involved in a training ground bust-up.

The former Manchester United defender said: “In management, I never hold a grudge. As soon as I have a row or a disagreement, whatever you want to call it, it’s forgotten the next day as far as I’m concerned and we move forward, simple as, and Matty is the same.”

One man who definitely was not pleased as he left St James’ Park was Spurs boss Jose Mourinho, who bemoaned his team’s “instability” on Tyneside.

Mourinho, who revealed defenders Serge Aurier and Toby Alderweireld were not available after reporting back from international duty too late to undergo the Covid tests which would have allowed them to train ahead of the game, said: “It was a bad result.

Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho accepted the result was ‘not a good one’ (Peter Powell/PA)

“I’m not being disrespectful to Newcastle, but I think that is a match to win, so the result is not a good one.

“If I analyse the performance, separate it from so many mistakes that lead to instability and instability leads to hope in the opposition, if I want to analyse it separate from that, I think we were good, I would say very good in some moments.

“But I cannot do it. The game belongs to every moment and I cannot separate the game from these moments of instability, and that’s the reason why we didn’t win the game.”