Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce vows to ‘crack on’ and thanks owner Mike Ashley for support

Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce said on Thursday he expects to be in charge of the Premier League outfit next season unless told otherwise and is already having conversations about recruiting new players.

Bruce, who has a contract until June 2022, steered Newcastle clear of relegation, with the club sitting 16th on 39 points from 35 matches ahead of Friday’s meeting with champions Manchester City.

The 60-year-old has faced criticism from Newcastle fans for some disappointing performances throughout the season, but said he would not walk away.

“I have a contract, so until I hear otherwise we’ll crack on,” Bruce told a news conference. “I’m a football manager, I’m not ready to retire yet.

“You have to dust yourself down and have a thick skin. I’ll crack on to the best of my ability. I’ve had to scrap and fight all my life. As player and manager, nothing has come easy for me … so I have to work hard and dig deep and get my rewards.

“We’re doing pre-season preparations now. We’ve already had transfer conversations. Quietly behind the scenes, we’re working as normal. The big conversations are still to be had.”

Fans had called for the dismissal of Bruce, who replaced the popular Rafa Benitez in 2019, following a 3-0 defeat by Brighton & Hove Albion in March.

The team have since lost only one of their next six games and won three, including a 4-2 victory over third-placed Leicester City. Bruce said that he was thankful for club owner Mike Ashley’s support following the Brighton defeat.

“It was crucial. When you’re up against it is when you need support. The message was clear: ‘We’re 100% behind you’. You’ve to put your chest out and look for a response.

“The people that responded were the players, there were questions about character. It was the low point. That’s where you dig deep, use your experience, we’ve worked tirelessly to turn the situation around.”

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