NEWCASTLE, England (Reuters) - Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce believes his team face a slog to stay away from the Premier League relegation zone after they were held to a 1-1 home draw by Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday.
Newcastle led at halftime thanks to a towering header by Jamaal Lascelles but lost their way after the break when Jonny equalised for the visitors after a poor piece of goalkeeping by Martin Dubravka.
It could have been worse for Newcastle with Wolves finishing strongly after the hosts had Sean Longstaff sent off for a foul on Ruben Neves.
Newcastle still have only two league wins this season and are perched one place and one point above the relegation zone.
“We hope we can get a few results. Two or three points separates 11 teams,” Bruce said. “We want to go higher but I was under no illusion it would be difficult here.
“For the last couple of years it’s not been any different since the club came up.”
Bruce was frustrated by the Wolves equaliser, saying Dubravka made a poor decision in dealing with the cross that led to the goal, but was encouraged by his team’s start.
“I was delighted with the way we’ve played in the first half — it’s, arguably, as good as we’ve played here,” he said.
“We needed exactly the same (in the second half) and to get the second goal. Unfortunately, we went far too deep and didn’t do enough with the ball.”
Bruce felt Longstaff’s dismissal was harsh.
“When the red card comes, we try an protect what we have. It’s harsh (the red). The behaviour of Neves is another thing.
“When they’re rolling around like that, you know they’re not hurt. He’s not in control of the ball but how’s he supposed to be? I think it’s harsh. The reaction of Neves, rolling around and screaming, I’m always a bit dubious.”
Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond