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Manchester United the perfect opponents for Newcastle response, says Bruce

Steve Bruce hopes the carrot of victory over Manchester United can help Newcastle bounce back from their horror show at Leicester.

The Magpies head coach will send his side into battle with his former employers at St James’ Park on Sunday after their 5-0 hammering at the King Power Stadium last weekend.

Bruce was part of the United side who chased down Newcastle to win the Premier League in 1995-96, and although neither club is currently in that sort of form, it remains a big fixture for him.

He said: “Yes, they might not be the Manchester United of the past, but they’ve still got some very good players and we’re going to have to be better than we were last week.

“It’s a wonderful time to play them because it’s a full house live on TV. If you have to bounce back against anybody, what better way than against them?”

Newcastle have won only one game all season, although the fact that that victory came at Tottenham is a source of comfort for a coach who has seen his side drastically underperform in their last two outings.

Sunday’s visitors have their own problems, with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer having presided over a poor start to the season, but Bruce knows that will count for little if his players allow their standards to drop once again.

He said: “I don’t think I’ve ever beaten them, which is a worry, of course. I had the privilege to play there for a long time. It was a long time ago, but they’re one of the great clubs of Europe.

“It’ll be a big occasion and we have to make sure we’re ready for it. We’ve played badly in a couple of games, but we’re capable. We’re going to have to play well on the day.

“At Spurs, the resilience was there for everybody to see. For some reason, we lost that last week.”

Bruce will expect a big response from his squad, which could be boosted by the return from injury of Jetro Willems, Jonjo Shelvey and Dwight Gayle.

He said: “For the last couple of years, they (Newcastle) have been in and around the bottom half of the league, so they’re used to trying to respond.

“That’s what the Premier League is all about. You accept you can be beaten, but you’ve got to react.”