Newcastle manager Steve Bruce needs to look closer to home to solve his side’s poor form 

For a man who repeatedly claims to have a ‘thick skin’, ‘accepts criticism’ and insists ‘everyone is entitled to their opinion’, Steve Bruce’s behaviour continues to support none of those assertions.

On Saturday, following Newcastle’s 4-1 defeat at Old Trafford, he blamed the local newspaper for supporters’ calls for him to go.

Bruce refused to answer a fair question as to whether he had been on holiday during the international break. We understand he spent four nights in Portugal.

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Steve Bruce is his own worst enemy after refusing to answer whether he had a trip to Portugal during the international break

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‘Do you think I really have to answer that to you?’ he said. ‘That’s what the fans are asking, are they? We’ve trained all week and we were in every day. Preparation was meticulous.

‘To have to answer questions like that is typical of the question I would get off you and your newspaper. That’s why they (fans) are the way they are, the way you are and your negativity and your newspaper.’

Frustration with Bruce continued as Newcastle fell to a 4-1 loss against Manchester United

The Newcastle fans deserve answers from a manager who is his own worst enemy at times

Bruce is his own worst enemy at times. Supporters had wanted to know why, after one point from nine and a League Cup exit, the manager saw fit to take a break. But if going on holiday is no big deal, then say so, don’t take aim for the press and your own fans.

It caused an immediate backlash – the local paper called his conduct ‘risible’ – and Friday’s visit of Leeds is at risk of turning toxic given the growing strength of feeling against the head coach.

Supporters are well aware of Bruce banning journalists and the club handpicking those who are allowed to ask questions of him, and he prickles when the subjects of tactics and selection are broached.

But he is badly mistaken if he genuinely believes the reason for poor performances and supporter unrest is the media. He needs to look far closer to home in that regard.

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