Struggling Newcastle boss Bruce says he's not 'bullet-proof'

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·2 min read
Newcastle manager Steve Bruce
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Newcastle manager Steve Bruce says he is not "bullet-proof" as he battles to pull Newcastle out of their Premier League nosedive.

The Magpies, who have lost their past five league matches and are without a win in nine games, have slipped to 16th place in the table, just six points clear of the relegation zone.

It is understood that Newcastle owner Mike Ashley, who has failed in several attempts to sell the club, remains supportive of Bruce.

But the 60-year-old former Manchester United defender accepts there's a limit even to Ashley's patience.

Asked if felt "bullet-proof" in his job ahead of Saturday's trip to Everton, Bruce replied: "I wouldn't expect to be bullet-proof, no."

He added: "I don't need any assurances. Look, we're in the Premier League, we understand that we're judged on results and our results haven't been good enough at the minute."

Newcastle suffered a coronavirus outbreak at the end of November, which forced the closure of their training ground for a short period.

The virus deprived them of the services of captain Jamaal Lascelles and key man Allan Saint-Maximin for extended periods.

Bruce said the club had been hit hard by Covid-19.

"I'm not using that as an excuse, but we're getting our big players back fit again and when we're all OK, I've seen what the players are capable of," he said.

"We certainly have been affected by Covid. Injuries you accept, but Covid and the difficulties of dealing with it has been really, really difficult and we have been badly affected by it, and probably still are.

"We've still got one or two players, Allan, for example -- we still can't ask him to play 90 minutes tomorrow because he's been idle for eight weeks."