Bruce frustrated to blow lead against Aston Villa
Photo credit:(Getty Images/Laurence Griffiths)

Newcastle United were held to a 1-1 draw against Aston Villa in their second game back after the Premier League season was re-started last week.

After a first-half low on quality from both sides, Steve Bruce's side broke the deadlock through Dwight Gayle but the Magpies were unable to hang on and suffered a set-back when Villa equalised through a defensive mix-up following a corner.

The Newcastle boss took some positives from the game but was ultimately unhappy in the way in which his side squandered their lead when Ahmed Elmohamady headed home from close range.

"We did warn the players that Aston Villa are good at set-pieces," Bruce revealed.

"We're disappointed that we didn't see ourselves through as that's something that we've prided ourselves on and that's the first goal we've conceded in five home games.

A disappointing way to end

"You don't mind conceding if you're opened up by a bit of brilliance but that was a poor goal to concede." 

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Newcastle's goalscorer Gayle had struggled for game time this season but he made an almost immediate impact as he latched onto Andy Carroll's excellent pass from out wide to open the scoring.

His manager was keen the sing the praises of the striker who has had to be patient since his return to the club following a loan spell at West Bromwich Albion.

"I'm delighted for Dwight," said the Newcastle boss.

"The freshness upfront with him and Andy gave us a real opportunity to win the match but unfortunately we couldn't see it through.

"They scored quite late on and we thought that we could find a way to keep our lead." 

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Looking forward to a league distraction

With the games continuing to come thick and fast for all top-flight sides, squad rotation could be key and this is no exception at St James' Park with an FA Cup Quarter-final to come against Manchester City on Sunday.

The Magpies boss went on to explain just how big a role his whole squad could play in the coming matches both starting and off the bench with five substitutes allowed until the end of the campaign.

"All clubs are going to need their squads and their five substitutes," Bruce said.

"People are making substitutions quickly and the players haven't played for three months and all they can do is fitness work.

"We need to see what we've got and I'm sure we'll be using the squad once we get three or four games in."