Bruce says it’s ‘pretty obvious’ where Newcastle need to improve

Joe Williams
Steve Bruce Newcastle United

Steve Bruce admitted his side were made to pay for missed chances after being forced to settle for a 1-1 draw in their FA Cup third round tie at League One Rochdale.

The Magpies dominated the first half and Miguel Almiron’s opener looked set to steer them into the next stage with the minimum of fuss before 40-year-old Aaron Wilbraham’s 79th minute equaliser capped a stirring comeback.

Instead of toasting a place in round four, Bruce must now prepare his increasingly depleted squad for a replay, with Almiron and Yoshinori Muto now added to the list of injury doubts.

Bruce said: “Our frailties are pretty obvious – we don’t score enough goals and with the chances we’ve created today we’ve got to be taking them and the tie should have been put to bed.

“We were excellent in the first half but the losses of Muto and Almiron gave us another thing to think about. (But) we’re in the hat and we’ve got a replay, and some might need a game after coming back from injury.”


Bruce confirmed Almiron picked up a groin strain that will be scanned next week, while Muto’s hip injury appears to present more concern.

Newcastle’s inability up front was underlined by another low-confidence display from Joelinton, but Bruce insisted he retains belief in the Brazilian despite looking for reinforcements in the transfer window.

“He (Joelinton) has had a difficult time but he’s got to stick at it,” added Bruce.

“Until two weeks ago Almiron hadn’t scored but now he’s scored two in fairly quick succession, so he’s just got to stick at it.”

On his bid to bring in new faces, Bruce said: “We’ve had a couple of knock-backs already so we’ll keep working away.

“It’s very difficult, especially at that end of the pitch, to get something that’s going to make you better. I won’t just be bringing in players for the sake of it, but we’ll see what the next two or three weeks bring.”