Steve Bruce discusses Saint-Maximin’s comeback and Newcastle new goals plan

Steve Bruce insists Newcastle have missed Allan Saint-Maximin as much as Liverpool miss Virgil Van Dijk.

The French winger has returned to training after falling victim to coronavirus and complications, and last played on November 21.

Bruce will ease him back to action to avoid injury over the next fortnight, after Saint-Maximin tweeted: “I'm back baby…” at the weekend.

Bruce says his side have missed a spark without him, and admits he is searching for a formula to get more out of top scorer Callum Wilson, who is without a goal since December 19.

The under-fire boss also left £60million of talent on the bench in Joelinton and Miguel Almiron and needs to rehabilitate them.

Bruce said of his strike problems which have seen United score once in six games: “No matter who you are, whether you're Liverpool and you're missing Van Dijk, or if you're missing arguably your most creative player at the top end of the pitch, then of course you're going to miss him, it's as simple as that.

“He can give you a spark, he can give you a lift. Have we become over-reliant? We've been without him for weeks, so I can't really answer that.

“Have we missed him? One hundred percent, yes, because he can give us something which gives you that spark in the last third and playing on the counter-attack, we're not quite the same when he's not in the team.”

Asked about his plan to get Wilson firing again, Brue, who faces a tough clash at Arsenal on Monday night: “I have talked about getting that balance right since I walked through the door.

“We all have to have a certain pragmatic way in the bottom half. But I agree we have to have more going the other way. And that is where we have to improve.

"At Sheffield we didn't do the basics well enough. Forget about tactics and formations.

"We didn't do the basics well enough to win a match against Sheffield and that was disappointing.

“Yes we have to improve going forward and get better service and get that balance right which is obviously the most difficult part.”

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