August 18, 2019 / 2:19 PM / a month ago

Bruce prepared to face flak after poor Newcastle start

Soccer Football - Premier League - Norwich City v Newcastle United - Carrow Road, Norwich, Britain - August 17, 2019 Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce Action Images via Reuters/Molly Darlington

(Reuters) - Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce said he was ready to take criticism following Saturday’s 3-1 Premier League defeat by promoted Norwich City which left his team with two defeats in as many games.

Norwich’s Finland striker Teemu Pukki grabbed a hat-trick as they sealed victory in their first home game back in the English top flight after a three-year absence.

Bruce, who replaced fan-favourite Rafa Benitez in the close season, said his team had not done enough in response to a 1-0 home defeat by Arsenal in their opener.

“I’ve got to be ready for the flak which will come my way. And, to be perfectly honest, sometimes you deserve a bit of stick,” Bruce told British media.

“I’ve got no problem with that because... we weren’t good enough. Sometimes you get beat and you accept it. But the manner of it — we haven’t done enough. That’s always disappointing.

“You might not be at your best but at this level, the standard and the big chances we had, we’ve got to take one of those. If we had... it might have given us the belief that was lacking, but we didn’t.”

Newcastle’s record signing Joelinton appeared to pick up a hip injury at Carrow Road, leaving Bruce sweating on the fitness of the Brazilian striker who joined from Bundesliga side Hoffenheim last month.

“We don’t know until he has scans... he’s very sore,” Bruce added. “We’re a bit light in that department with the injuries we’ve picked up. We have to see, hopefully it’s not too bad.”

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond

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