Steve Bruce explains Matty Longstaff's lack of playing time
WATFORD, ENGLAND - JULY 11: Steve Bruce manager of Newcastle United speaks to the media during the Premier League match between Watford FC and Newcastle United at Vicarage Road on July 11, 2020 in Watford, United Kingdom. (Photo by Newcastle United/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

Newcastle boss Steve Bruce began his pre-match media briefing by discussing the disappointing defeat away to Watford at the weekend.

Bruce remained adamant that the first penalty awarded of two for the Hornets on Saturday afternoon, a foul by Matt Ritchie on Kiko Femenia, should have been overturned by VAR.

“We’re disappointed after Saturday and after playing well in the first-half.

"Still, when I look at the first penalty, in particular, it has gone against us.

"We’ve done ok, we’ve played six, won two, drawn two & lost two.

"It’s important as always to finish off well."

  • Takeover clarity needed

Newcastle's potential takeover seems to be no nearer to a conclusion, even though it has been 14 weeks since the Premier League allegedly started their owners and directors test on Amanda Staveley's consortium.

"We all need clarity on that.

"I do, the club does, supporters do and then we'll see how that changes things. 

"We need a decision on that but if we don't, then we still have to work towards trying to plan for next season," said Bruce.

  • Injury news

The Magpies head coach revealed that club captain Jamaal Lascelles is set to miss tomorrow's clash against Spurs, due to an injury he sustained during the Watford game.

As well as Lascelles missing out, midfield pair Isaac Hayden and Sean Longstaff seem no closer to returning to the Newcastle side.

"We've got one or two injuries, especially in central defence.

"Jamaal hobbled off and I don't think he'll make it.

"In midfield with Isaac and Sean, they look as if they're going to struggle.

"We have a few knocks but we'll see how they are today."

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  • Transfer talk

Steve Bruce maintained a 'business as usual' stance on the upcoming transfer window, regardless of potential new owners arriving very soon.

The Newcastle boss did speak about how difficult the transfer market could be for some clubs.

"Yeah, but it'll be like that at most clubs and we've all been on hold to a degree. 

"But we've got an important summer and we want to identify players to keep trying to improve us."

  • The Schar and Longstaff debate

Steve Bruce defended his choice to play defender Fabian Schar in midfield over Matty Longstaff against Watford, even though the youngster is more natural in that position.

The Magpies head coach was also asked if Longstaff was not being picked due to the midfielder not deciding whether to accept or reject Newcastle's new contract offer.

“I’ve played Fabian Schar because of his physicality. 

“This debate that I’m not putting Matty in the team because of his contract is not true. 

“I picked a team I thought could win."

  • Danny Rose arriving permanently?

Full-back Danny Rose is on loan at Newcastle from Tottenham, therefore he is unavailable for selection tomorrow.

Bruce was asked whether there is a chance the England international could be joining the club on a permanent deal.

"He is ineligible for tomorrow.

"He is Tottenham's player but in the next few weeks in particular we'll be looking and identifying players and seeing where we are.

"He's done very well for us and I'm very pleased with him so there will be conversations to have."

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  • Bruce looking to do the double over Spurs

Steve Bruce reminisced on the reverse fixture against Spurs earlier on in the season, where the Magpies recorded a 1-0 win - which was Bruce's first victory in charge of the club.

“It was the first game I ever won as Newcastle manager.

"It was a good day in a wonderful stadium and to beat Tottenham in their own back yard will always stay with me.

"Almost a year later we’ve got them at home so let’s hope we can repeat the performance."

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  • Newcastle must rise to the challenge

The Magpies boss was asked whether Spurs' win against Arsenal at the weekend has changed the morale in the Tottenham camp.

"They've got a European place to play for and you could see what beating Arsenal meant to them.

"When you look at the team they've got, the manager they've got and everything that's in place you know they're a big club.

"We have to match their endeavour on the night."

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