Bruce believes that Newcastle were even better against eleven men
NurPhoto via Getty Images

Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce made a bold claim after the Magpies snatched a 1-0 victory over Southampton at St Mary's Stadium on Saturday afternoon, stating that his side played better football when up against a full Saints side.

It took a late goal from Alan Saint-Maximin to secure a crucial three points as Newcastle pulled further away from the relegation zone, but they were playing against ten men since the 28th minute as Moussa Djenepo was dismissed following a VAR referral.

However, when speaking to NUFC TV, Newcastle manager Bruce actually felt that his players performed better when it was still 11vs11.

"It was hard work in the second half and we haven't encountered that very often," said Bruce.

"It's hard when you're playing against the team defending deeply as they're hard to break down.

Saint required to breakdown the Saints

"We were arguably better when they had eleven men as you don't usually get that many chances away from home. Unfortunately, we didn't take them in the first half."

The Toon boss went on to explain just how difficult it is to break teams down when they're happy to defend deep, as Southampton were when being reduced in player numbers.

This is something that Newcastle have done for the majority of this season themselves, so it became interesting to see if the Magpies could take the game to their opponents for a change.

"We've made if difficult for teams this season," Bruce said.

"We know what it's like to defend deep and put bodies on the line when the ball's in front of you. It's very difficult to break down.

"It took a little bit of magic from Alan (Saint-Maximin) to win us the game and that was good to see."

The red card proved to be a key moment within the game, but that wasn't the end of the big decisions as referee Graham Scott gave a penalty for handball - once again it was VAR that gave the decision.

As much as Newcastle were unable to capitalise from 12 yards when Matt Ritchie had his spot-kick saved, the Magpies' boss praised the technology in place.

"Ultimately VAR has got both of the decisions right," said the Newcastle manager.

"For the red card it was a dangerous challenge and he was over the top of the ball. They're the ones that can damage people so VAR is right there.

"When you see the penalty it's a blatant penalty as their man has stuck his arm out to control the ball. The referee and the VAR eventually got it right."

VAVEL Logo