Bruce eyeing win to finish at Fulham
Steve Bruce insists his Newcastle United side are desperate to end the season on a high when they round off 2020/21 at Fulham on Sunday afternoon (4pm kick-off).
United bring the curtain down on another campaign at Craven Cottage, where they played on the final day two years ago, securing a 4-0 win in the capital.
And with safety already secured - and Scott Parker’s men having been relegated to the Championship - Bruce wants his side to finish with a flourish, and try and surpass last season’s points total of 44 in the process.
"Just recently, just when we’ve needed it, when we’ve really come under the pump, we’ve produced form which has put us into the top six or seven for current form, which is terrific for the team," he said.
"I’m delighted with the way they’ve responded. We must finish off. We’ve got a chance to equal last year, or be better than last year in terms of points total, so let’s try and do our utmost.
"The resolve and belief of the players has been terrific. Just when we needed it, when we were all up against it, they responded in the right way. Let’s keep it together one more time."
The Magpies beat Sheffield United 1-0 in their final home game of the campaign on Wednesday evening, in front of a crowd at St. James’ Park.
Bruce says he and his side loved the experience of having fans back in the stadium and, while United won’t be backed by their own support in the capital on Sunday, he wants his players to make the most of the occasion before they depart for the off-season.
"Our performance in our last game away from home (at Leicester) was exceptional. I’m sure they’ve all enjoyed the experience of the crowds back in - I think we all have in the last week," said Newcastle's head coach. "It was certainly a different spectacle. I’ve watched two, three, four games this week with the supporters in.
"I’m sure they can go and enjoy the last game of the season and then have a well/earned break, for everybody concerned. I’m sure they’re sick of the sight of me, for a start!
"So let’s hope we can sign off (well), and we’ll see them in a few weeks."
"We’ll not know until today, when we’ll see how they are, but it's Allan in particular, and the goalkeeper, Martin. We expect them to be OK, but we won’t know 100 per cent until they go on the grass today," he added.