Steve Bruce insists he is “100 per cent” confident he is the right man to turn around Newcastle’s fortunes after they were easily beaten at Arsenal.
The Gunners turned on the style after a goalless first half to record a 3-0 win courtesy of a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang brace either side of a Bukayo Saka effort.
Bruce had made eight changes from the side that lost at bottom club Sheffield United last week but the Magpies have now taken just two points from their last seven Premier League outings.
A Newcastle supporter group was calling for his removal as manager immediately after the latest setback, with the 1,000-member strong ‘Toon for Change’ stating they are now “actively campaigning” for Bruce to be sacked.
But the 60-year-old remained steadfast in his belief that he can address the problems in the coming weeks.
Asked if he felt he was still the right man for the job, Bruce replied: “I have been in football a long, long time and I’ve managed to do it before.
“If you are in the bottom half you are going to have a difficult spell and it is how you cope with it, I’m never going to shy away from it so yes, 100 per cent.
“I think half the league is in a relegation battle. There are only a few points between a few teams, we have been stuck on 19 for a while now.
“But we always knew this was the most difficult part of the season for us in terms of fixtures and the problems we have got. We have got to keep plugging away at it and I’m sure it’ll turn.”
Bruce also said he had not admonished his players at full-time, having praised their defensive work in a goalless first half.
“Harsh words? Whatever I say in the dressing room will remain between me and my players but there weren’t harsh words,” he added.
“I’ve been in the bottom half of the Premier League for a long period of time and the reason you are down there and in the bottom half is because you go on runs which are difficult.
“It was the start of the season last season and we came through it. It is a difficult period but it is about how you handle yourself and go about your work, stick to your beliefs and principles and get through it, which we will do.”
Arsenal, meanwhile, moved into the top half of the table having kept their fifth clean sheet in a row across all competitions.
It is the first time in 12 years they have had such a run of defensive shut-outs – but it was the second-half display of his attacking players which pleased manager Mikel Arteta.
Aubameyang had missed a couple of good chances in the first half but scored his fourth and fifth league goals of the season to steer the Gunners to three points.
“I am really pleased with his performance overall,” Arteta said of his captain.
“That’s what he (Aubameyang) has done through his career and mentally you have to be really strong in order to do that.
“He has come out of a difficult period. We have been missing his goals a lot.
“Today he has come back and scored two and contributed to the team to win and this is exactly what we need. So I am really pleased for him.”
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