Steve Bruce admits that his Newcastle side must tighten up at the back but felt that VAR played a huge part in Sunday’s loss to West Ham United.
The Magpies went down 4-2 but took the lead through Callum Wilson in just the fifth minute. Aaron Cresswell’s cross-shot flew into the net untouched to level affairs on 18 minutes. Jacob Murphy headed in Matt Ritchie’s cross to give the hosts a 2-1 half-time lead.
Said Benrahma made it 2-2 early in the second period before two goals in three minutes took the Hammers out of sight. Michail Antonio then saw his penalty saved but Tomas Soucek tucked away the rebound in the 63rd minute.
Antonio then made amends, hammering in a fierce drive to make it 4-2 and ensure the points went to London. Bruce felt the decision to award David Moyes side a penalty was key to the result.
And, once again, the use of video technology was in a manager’s sights.
“Defensively we’ve got to be better. For me the big turning point is the penalty,” he told Sky Sports. “I know we’ve made a big thing of VAR, for the life of me I can’t understand why the referee who is 10 yards away can’t just come and check because I think he comes and checks then he thinks differently.
“That’s what VAR is supposed to be there four. I’ve looked at it four or five times and it looks really harsh to me. Martin is 10 yards away from it, why doesn’t he go and check it rather than asking somebody’s opinion 300 miles away.”
Bruce acknowledges defensive frailties
It was an encouraging start to the game for the Magpies, roared on by a full house at St James’ Park. But they could not get the job done and the manager was particularly critical of his rearguard.
“We were always a threat and just after half-time we had the chance to score again,” he added. “We have to sharpen up defensively that’s for sure.
“Once we leave ourselves exposed then it becomes difficult for us. Overall I was really pleased with a lot of it but we have to be better defensively.”
The north-east outfit signed Joe Willock from Arsenal this week and Bruce confessed that he is still searching for more.
“We’re all looking. We’re delighted that we’ve been able to bring Joe in but we’ll never stop looking,” he continued. “We always want more as managers and coaches but as we stand we’re exactly where we were and if we can add a little bit more to it then we’ll try.”