Steve Bruce has admitted he would “love” Newcastle United to have the spending power that is helping Everton and Aston Villa mix with the Premier League title contenders.
The manager is operating on a limited budget, having spent less than £35m in the last window, on Callum Wilson and Jamal Lewis. Saturday’s 2-0 loss at Manchester City left Newcastle in 14th place, while considerable investment at Villa and Everton has taken them to fifth and third respectively.
Last season Newcastle finished 13th, a position below Everton, and Villa were 17th, avoiding relegation by one point. Bruce was asked if the success of those two teams this term is adding to fans’ disquiet regarding the lack of ambition at Newcastle.
“I can understand the frustration but we are where we are,” he said. “We’d all love to have what Everton have been able to do over the last two or three years and certainly, since I left Aston Villa [sacked as manager in October 2018], the spending power that has propelled them up the league. Of course we’d like to be able to do that, but unfortunately we are where we are at this particular moment.”
Last week Brentford knocked Newcastle out of the Carabao Cup quarter-finals, which led to further criticism of the team and Bruce’s management. Yet he believes Newcastle’s response at City showed a togetherness.
“Of course the criticism hurts them [players] but I hope I can create a mentality to make sure we roll our sleeves up and shut a few people up,” Bruce said. “The only way to do that is through results and we will keep working as hard as we can. Against City there was certainly a togetherness, an attitude and an application Yes we were beaten by the better team on the night, but the way they stuck together, I couldn’t have asked for anything more. I hope that came through on the television. I certainly saw that on the touchline.”
Newcastle host the leaders, Liverpool, on Wednesday night. “Their quality is there for all to see – they are the champions of England, champions of Europe [in] the last two years,” Bruce said. “We know what’s coming. That’s the Premier League – we know how difficult it is and we are getting two of the big sides in a row. We would like a week to recover but we’ve got two of the best teams in Europe back to back.”