'We've got to find that resilience again' - Bruce previews Wolves clash
Written by Rory Mitchinson
Steve Bruce has challenged his Newcastle United side to rediscover their resilience as they bid to avoid a fourth straight defeat in the Premier League when they travel to Wolves on Saturday.
The Magpies had climbed into the top ten of the table prior to the festive period, but successive losses to Manchester United, Everton and Leicester have left Bruce’s side looking over their shoulders once more.
In the process, Newcastle have shipped nine goals – many of which their head coach feels were avoidable.
The last nine the Magpies conceded before that were spread over an impressive eight games, and it’s a return to that form – of November and early December – that Bruce is calling for ahead of Saturday’s clash, with opponents Wolves riding high in the Premier League once more.
“We’ve got to find that resilience again and stop making individual errors. That’s cost us badly in the last couple of games, especially away from home,” he said. “We’ll have to do that tomorrow – we’ll have to defend well and hopefully create something the other way.
“Over the last two or three games in particular, we’ve gifted teams the result. And in the Premier League, it’s hard enough without making the silly mistakes we’ve made. We have to eradicate those decisions which we’ve made and the bad goals we’ve given away, because up until then we looked very, very solid and very difficult to play against.
“(Wolves) are a very, very good team. They were far too good for the Championship a couple of years ago, when I come up against them. They’ve bought extremely well, they’ve got good players and they’re a very, very talented team. It was no fluke where they ended up last year, and they’ve continued on this year. To ask them to play nearly 40 games before the end of January is totally ridiculous, but they’re managing well at the moment.”
Bruce also provided an update on the Magpies’ injury list, which had threatened to swell to double figures on the back of last Saturday’s FA Cup draw at Rochdale.
Five players, however – Ciaran Clark, Paul Dummett, Jetro Willems, Dwight Gayle and Andy Carroll – are back in contention for Saturday’s game, while Miguel Almirón is in line to play after being forced off at Spotland.
That said, Jamaal Lascelles, Fabian Schär and Allan Saint-Maximin all remain sidelined – at least for the time being – while United’s head coach also revealed that three further players have had to spend time on the treatment table in the past week.
“It’s ridiculous that we’re talking about this all the time, but it’s part and parcel of it,” Bruce said. “Unfortunately we lost two or three last weekend; we’ve got two or three back but we’ve lost two or three. Ki (Sung-yueng) and (Yoshinori) Muto have both got knocks, and we’ll have to wait over DeAndre Yedlin too – he hurt his knee a little bit.
“But there’s light at the end of the tunnel – I expect the vast majority to be there or thereabouts by the end of next week, which is good.”