Steve Bruce tried to find some positives as he once more faced questions about his future as Newcastle manager following another lacklustre defeat against Aston Villa.
Fans protested outside St James’ Park demanding Bruce be sacked as his side slipped to a 2-0 loss on Saturday night.
It was not quite the meek surrender at Sheffield United recently but in a continuation of recent performances, Newcastle offered little as an attacking force – lacking imagination and intent in the final third of the pitch.
The Magpies have scored only one goal in the last eight matches and have lost six of their last eight Premier League games, including the last four in a row.
Told about the protests back in Newcastle, Bruce could only offer “I’m disappointed to hear that” as a reply, before going on to attempt to defend his team’s recent form.
“We’ve been on a really difficult run, there’s no doubting that. But we are not alone in that, it’s just our turn.
“When you’re in the bottom half of the Premier League, you are always looking over your shoulder and what you need to erase it all is to win a couple of games.
“That little bit of confidence comes with a win and the sooner we get it the better.
“I know this group of players are capable, we’ve done it before. We’ve had a particularly tough time in terms of illness and injuries and let’s hope we can stay fit and healthy because if we can do that then I’m convinced we will be OK.”
Allan Saint-Maximin made his return at Villa Park following an eight-week lay-off due to coronavirus.
Bruce said: “That encourages me. It encouraged me was to see Ryan (Fraser) and Allan on the pitch at the same time. I think it’s the first time this season that has happened. That will certainly help us going forward.”