Bruce's praise as Premier League season comes to a close
Photo credit:(Getty Images/Newcastle United)

Following the departure of Rafa Benitez at Newcastle United last summer, whoever came in to replace him had big boots to fill at St James' Park.

Steve Bruce may not have been everyone's cup of tea on Tyneside when he arrived to replace the Spaniard but the Magpies survived comfortably and ended in 13th place.

Speaking after Sunday's final day defeat to Premier League champions Liverpool, Bruce gave his reaction to his first campaign managing his hometown club and praised his players and staff for their help in what was a difficult season for all clubs.

"I couldn't be more pleased with everyone in my first season," Bruce said.

"Everyone has worked well in difficult circumstances, but in particular the staff who work with me and the players who have never really complained about all the injuries we've had.

"We had seven missing (against Liverpool) which is a huge number but the players have still rolled up their sleeves and got some big results this season which was good." 

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Final day debut

With the number of injuries that the Newcastle manager has had to deal with of late he had to turn to the youth squads to find some more availability.

Kelland Watts was one man who had a short cameo against the reds as he came on to replace Danny Rose late on and his manager believes that the youngster and his family will be feeling proud after he claimed his first minutes in the English top-flight.

"He'll remember that for the rest of his days," the Toon boss said.

"It was a great team to make his debut against in Liverpool and I'm really pleased for him.

"In adversity there's also a chance for youngsters to make a name and in the past I brought Andy Robertson in because we had no other left-backs and he's never looked back." 

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A thank you

After great criticism from many Newcastle supporters at the start of the season, others have stuck with their new manager in his first campaign at the helm.

Bruce has felt the appreciation from those who have turned up to St James' Park throughout the season and wished to give them credit for their support.

"Some supporters have come up to us and said well done so a big thank you to them," Bruce wished to say.

"It doesn't matter what is out there on social media because some have been great to us.

"Let's hope we can have a good summer and recruit a few new faces and hopefully that can take the club forwards."