Bruce eyes second win over Spurs
Newcastle United head coach Steve Bruce is eyeing a repeat of August’s fine win over Tottenham Hotspur when Jose Mourinho’s men arrive on Tyneside on Wednesday evening (6pm kick-off).
Bruce’s first win in charge of the Magpies came at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in United’s third outing of the campaign on a scorching afternoon in North London, with Joelinton’s solitary strike earning a memorable victory.
Mourinho’s men head to St. James’ Park with plenty to play for and, while Bruce is wary of last season’s Champions League finalists after they beat local rivals Arsenal 2-1 at the weekend, he wants his charges to turn in just as diligent and disciplined a performance as they did on that occasion in the capital.
“That was the first game I ever won as Newcastle manager,” he said. “It was 90 or 100 degrees and Ben Stokes on that day pulled off all sorts of tricks (in The Ashes). It was a good day in a wonderful stadium.
“To beat Tottenham in their own back yard will always stay with me. Now, it seems like a year later, we’ve got them at home.
“Let’s hope we can repeat the performance – we played very well on the day, and defended well. That’s what we’re going to have to do again tomorrow night.”
On Spurs, who beat the Gunners 2-1 courtesy of strikes from Son Heung-min and Toby Alderweireld, Bruce added: “They’ve got a big European place to play for, and you could see what it meant to them. When you look at the team that they’ve got and the manager they’ve got, and everything that’s in place at Spurs, you always know they’re one of the big clubs.
“They’ve got big players and something to play for, so it’s very important that we go and match their endeavour which we’ve got to do on the night.”
United have concerns over the fitness of captain Jamaal Lascelles, who hobbled off during Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Watford, while Bruce concedes the visit of Spurs may come too soon for Isaac Hayden and Sean Longstaff.
“We’ve got one or two (injury problems), especially in central defence,” he confirmed.
“Jamaal hobbled off – I don’t think he’s going to make it. In the middle of midfield, with Isaac and Sean Longstaff – they look as if they’re going to struggle. We’ve got one or two knocks, and we’ll see how we are today.”
Dwight Gayle put Newcastle ahead at Vicarage Road at the weekend, but two second half Troy Deeney penalties – awarded after Matt Ritchie and then Javier Manquillo were adjudged to have committed fouls – won it for the hosts.
And Bruce says it is vital the Magpies recover from that setback as they look to round off the campaign on the front foot.
“We’re disappointed after Saturday, after playing so well in the first half against Watford,” he said. “For me, still, when I look at it the first penalty in particular, it has gone against us.
“We’ve done okay (since the restart) – we’ve played six, won two, drawn two and lost two, one of them against one of the best teams in Europe, so we’ve done ok. But it’s important, as always, to try and finish off well.”