Steve Bruce shed light on how long Matty Longstaff has been in his thinking after the teenager scored a Premier League debut winner against Manchester United to lift Newcastle out of the relegation zone.
There could not have been a bigger contrast between the emotions Newcastle fans felt one week ago, when they lost 5-0 to Leicester, to how they felt at full-time at St James’ Park on Sunday, as they compounded Man Utd’s misery with a 1-0 win.
It’s the first time ex-Red Devils defender Bruce has beaten his former club as a manager, having had over 20 attempts – a fact he was keen to make light of in his post-match interview.
“I’ve waited something like 20 years for a result against Man Utd,” Bruce told Sky Sports. “I’m delighted for everybody. What we needed was a response after last week and that was there for everyone to see.
“This just shows you that football management is up and down. You can never write the script. When that’s the case you need your team to rally around.
“When you lose badly everyone comes under the pump. Thankfully we responded and for a young kid to make his debut and blast one in from 20 yards is something else.”
Bruce went into more detail to praise Longstaff – younger brother of midfield partner Sean – and how impressed he has been with him since taking charge.
“Since pre-season in China I’ve said ‘who’s this kid?’ He stands out with his ginger hair. He has wonderful enthusiasm and he lights up your day. He’s 19? So what. I’m delighted for him.
“All you can do is answer your critics by getting a result. We knew this run was going to be difficult. I hope this is the turning point. I know I’m not going to be everyone’s cup of tea but the nonsense that flies around is insulting. Hopefully this helps the cause.”