NEWCASTLE: Newcastle United head coach Steve Bruce has refused to be drawn on whether he will have more crunch talks with the Magpies’ new owners this week.
Almost two weeks into the reign of the Saudi-led consortium, Bruce continues to hang on to his job, despite vociferous calls from fans for him to be sacked.
And following the Magpies 3-2 home loss to Tottenham Hotspur, watched from the directors’ box by non-executive chairman Yasir Othman Al-Rumayyan, Bruce stonewalled any questions on his future.
When asked whether fresh talks with the owners were planned, he said: “I’ve got to wait, until they see fit. You need to ask somebody else that one.
“Look, the owners have been very respectful in the last week to 10 days. It is going to take time and patience, of course. But to have the supporters back on side is a positive.”
Bruce is understood to be hanging by a thread as the club’s manager following a run of nine games without a win in 2021/22, eight of those in the Premier League.
Speculation about his future has grown since the club was purchased by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), RB Media & Sports and PCP Capital Partners.
Bruce met with NUFC board member Amanda Staveley and her husband Mehrdad Ghodoussi, of PCP, on Monday last week - but has been backed to continue in the role, for now, at least.
On Friday, Staveley was quoted in a club statement discussing Bruce’s future.
The statement read: “We have had an extremely busy week reviewing the business and getting to know people and it is imperative that we continue to be patient and considered in our approach. Change does not always happen overnight, it demands time and that we follow a carefully considered plan and strategy.
“We met Steve and the players on Monday and have given them the time and space this week to focus on preparing for what is a very important game on Sunday.
“Steve has been very professional in our dealings with him and he and his coaching team will take the team on Sunday. If we make any changes going forward, Steve will be the first to know but, in the meantime, we wish him the best of luck in his 1,000th match as a manager and will be joining you in getting right behind the team.”
Meanwhile, Bruce admits he was disappointed his side did not build on their positive early start against Spurs.
Following Callum Wilson’s goal, United conceded three first-half goals, which ultimately saw them condemned to yet another top flight loss, despite Eric Dier’s late own goal.
“It is pretty obvious we haven’t defended well after a great start. Unfortunately we have done too much of that this season for my liking,” said Bruce. “With Tottenham’s first attack they score, their second it is two.
“We are trying to be a bit more attacking but defensively, we just haven't defended well enough.”
When asked whether he thinks his 19th-placed side are in a relegation battle, he said: “Have we not been in that for the last five or six years? I would think so.
“We have finished 12th and 13th - I found that very respectable, for where we are at this moment. I am convinced we would win a relegation battle. But when you are in the bottom half, people will say you’re in a relegation battle, yes.”