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Steve Bruce press conference – Wants to ‘put the record straight’ on ASM and Jamaal Lascelles

4 months ago
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Steve Bruce has taken his pre-Manchester City press conference.

The game on Boxing Day the first of three matches in an eight day stretch where it could well be a case of damage limitation, rather than any hopes of points.

The away match at Man City then followed by home games with Liverpool and Leicester.

These three same fixtures last season saw no points for Newcastle United, 11 goals conceded and only the one scored.

Steve Bruce describes this visit to Manchester City as a ‘wonderful opportunity’ and ‘what better place to try and respond’ after Brentford…’What better place to try and respond? We know how difficult it will be but we have to be ready for that challenge. We’ve had a disappointing week, we’re hugely disappointed in what’s happened the other night – hugely, and none more so than me – but here’s a wonderful opportunity.’

Hmmm, I think I could dream up at least 17 or 18 places that would be more preferable destinations than the Etihad.

Last season Steve Bruce watched on as Newcastle United had 26% possession at the Etihad, with a 5-0 defeat seeing only one corner and one shot on target for NUFC.

After the feeble displays against West Brom, Leeds, Fulham and Brentford, you really wonder just how much damage Man City could inflict if they are in the mood.

Two players who most definitely won’t be at the game on Boxing Day are Jamaal Lascelles and Allan Saint-Maximin.

In his press conference Steve Bruce stated that he would try and ‘put the record straight’ about the pair.

The NUFC Head Coach explaining: ”They’re not ready to return until the doctors tell us. Everybody’s different with the symptoms, but we expect them to be back; how long, I really can’t put a timeframe on. (It will) probably be Jamaal before Allan, but we hope that we can see an improvement in both of them and they can join the squad in the next week, two weeks, maybe.’

When Steve Bruce makes predictions of players returning, you always have to treat with caution as he is wildly optimistic / misleading on the vast majority of occasions. I would imagine it will be two weeks as an absolute minimum before they are back training properly and then you assume it will take a decent amount of time for them to get fully fit.

After this trio of ultra tough matches, Newcastle then play Arsenal twice away in the FA Cup and Premier League, with another away PL game at Sheffield United wedged in between the two visits to London. After that second Arsenal match on Monday 18 January, Newcastle United will have played 18 PL matches and very likely be out of the FA Cup as well as the League Cup.

Exactly what kind of situation the likes of Lascelles and ASM will return to, you find it difficult at the moment to imagine that it will be a positive one.

Never mind though, as Steve Bruce says, at least we have this upcoming visit to Man City to look forward to…

Steve Bruce pre-Manchester City press conference:

“It’s a difficult challenge, we’re playing one of the best teams in the world, but we’ve got to make sure that we get over the disappointment of the other night [at Brentford], roll our sleeves up and show what we’re made of.

“This league is unforgiving, it’s very, very difficult at times, so you have to get ready for the challenge.

“That’s the Premier League, that’s what it is, that’s what faces us.

“We managed to get a result against them last year – and then got heavily beaten at the Ethiad – but we’re playing against one of the great teams so let’s dust ourselves down, get over what happened the other night and get ready for a huge challenge.

“What better place to try and respond? We know how difficult it will be but we have to be ready for that challenge. We’ve had a disappointing week, we’re hugely disappointed in what’s happened the other night – hugely, and none more so than me – but here’s a wonderful opportunity.”

Player availability:

“We’ll see how he [Federico Fernandez] is. I sincerely hope so [Fernandez can play at Man City], but he was very fatigued after real soreness of his muscles and was in no fit state to play [at Brentford].

“I don’t think I’ve worked with a better pro than Fede, so for him to have the effects just goes to show that it affects different people in different ways. But yes, I hope I have at least him back because at centre bank we’ve been a little bit short.”

The truth about Allan Saint-Maximin and Jamaal Lascelles:

“There’s been a lot written and I’ll try and put the record straight.

“They’re not ready to return until the doctors tell us.

“Everybody’s different with the symptoms, but we expect them to be back; how long, I really can’t put a timeframe on.

“(It will) probably be Jamaal before Allan, but we hope that we can see an improvement in both of them and they can join the squad in the next week, two weeks, maybe.

“It’s been well documented how difficult it’s been over the last week, ten days. We’re obviously desperately short in central defensive areas, where it’s his most badly.

“We’ll look to freshen it up. I think it’s vitally important that you do that because obviously we’ve got some big games coming up.”

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