'It's not about me - we need a win', says Bruce ahead of 1,000th game
Newcastle United head coach Steve Bruce insisted that, despite it being his 1,000th game in management, getting a win in Sunday’s Premier League clash with Tottenham Hotspur should be the main focus as his side bid to move out of the bottom three.
A sell-out crowd at St. James' Park will watch the match against Nuno Espirito Santo’s side in what is the first fixture with the Magpies under new ownership.
This weekend's clash also brings up a significant personal milestone for Bruce, who first took to the dugout towards the end of his playing career in 1998.
But the United boss insists that Sunday is not about him – and has urged his charges to deliver a performance worthy of what would be a first win of the season.
"I keep saying take me out of the equation – 1,000 games doesn't happen to many – but it really isn't about that," he said.
"Can we go in and put in a performance? As I've said many times now, the players have trained really well. They know what Sunday is going to be. That's the most important thing.
"I think we've been close many, many times this season but haven't been able to get over the line, so let's hope we can put on a performance that gets us our first three points."
Bruce has been handed a boost ahead of the game, with a three of his key players set for returns after spells on the sidelines.
"The only ones who haven't made it are (Martin) Dúbravka and (Paul) Dummett," Bruce confirmed.
With what he believes will be a "ridiculous" atmosphere this weekend, Bruce wants his side to make the most of the vastly improved mood around the club as they seek a first victory of the campaign.
And he hopes that his squad's application in training since the takeover was confirmed will be rewarded with the result they want on Sunday.
"It will be a ridiculous atmosphere, which we're all looking forward to," he said. "And like always, whatever they think of me, the most important thing for them is to see their team win a game.
"I know they'll be right behind the team in an atmosphere which I doubt we've witnessed at St. James' Park for a long, long time.
"I'm hoping that the team – which has trained really well all week and have been really, really focused on the job in hand – can go and perform and win the match."