Newcastle manager Steve Bruce has reiterated his desire for better defending after the Magpies were beaten 3-2 by Tottenham.
Newcastle fans created a raucous atmosphere at St James’ Park before kick-off, responding gleefully to their £305m takeover. It was a big event for Bruce too as he was managing in his 1000th match.
The north east club had a dream start as Callum Wilson headed them in front just two minutes in. The striker beat his marker to a cross and finished from just yards out, sparking incredible scenes among the Newcastle faithful.
But the fairytale start was soon ended by Tanguy Ndombele. He sent a powerful strike past Karl Darlow in the 17th minute.
Harry Kane then ended his poor league form by lofting the ball over Darlow and into the net.
The game was then stopped after a medical emergency in the crowd. Spurs players Sergio Reguilon and Eric Dier alerted the referee, who ensured a defibrillator was sent over.
Following the restart, Heung-Min Son scored a tap-in to give Tottenham a two-goal cushion.
Things would get worse for Newcastle in the second half as Jonjo Shelvey was sent off. Eric Dier clumsily scored an own goal to give the Magpies hope but they could not find a late equaliser.
In a post-match interview with Sky Sports, Bruce said: “Certainly we were beaten by the better team. After a wonderful start, unfortunately problems we’ve had defensively were there for everybody to see.
“The goals we give away, some would say great play from Tottenham but the defending leaves a lot to be desired, to say the least.”
When asked if it was a game that got away from Newcastle, Bruce continued: “We’ve started a few games like that. We’ve scored, we’ve got our noses in front, but unfortunately we’re not able to defend well enough as a team. From front to back at the moment we’re not defending well enough.”
Bruce ‘thankful’ as good news emerges
When asked about the medical emergency in the stands, Bruce said: “Everybody in the crowd [deserves credit]. Thankfully we’re hearing that the man is okay, so it puts things into perspective a little bit. It looks like good news and I’m delighted for his family.”
On how Newcastle could get back into the game, Bruce said: “We needed to score at that point to give ourselves a chance. Of course we didn’t get it until late. We huffed and puffed in the second half but we never had any real, sustained pressure on Spurs at all. They always seemed to be comfortable.”
On his 1000th game in charge, the Englishman added: “I’d love to say it’s been an easy ride. It’s been difficult, I think I’ve been the circumstance for a lot of frustration for a lot of years.
“The people of Newcastle want to see the club move forward. We have a wonderful opportunity now – all I’ve ever wanted is to make sure this great club of ours moves forward. But it will take a little bit of time.”