Manager Steve Bruce has outlined why Newcastle are now a different animal after beating Leicester 4-2 to move close to Premier League survival.
Callum Wilson bagged a second-half brace after Joe Willock and Paul Dummett had given the Magpies a 2-0 half-time advantage. Marc Albrighton and Kelechi Iheanacho pulled a couple back late on and it was a nervy final few minutes for the visitors. But they held out to secure a vital three points which sees them move into 13th spot in the table.
The Tynesiders now just need one point to ensure their will be playing top-flight football in 2021-2022.
Bruce was delighted with the result and his team’s performance. And he picked out one man in particular whose perseverance had helped both the player and side.
“Absolutely pleasing, especially the first half. Some of the counter attacking was excellent, delighted with the win,” he told Sky Sports. “We said before the game Joe Willock has forced his way into the team by what he has done as a sub. He is a really smashing young player.
“We knew coming here we needed our goalkeeper playing well and the team playing well. We made it a bit hairy towards the end.”
Bruce taking nothing for granted
The King Power Stadium victory has seen Newcastle move on to 39 points. Only Fulham of the bottom three can now match their tally and they are virtually safe from the drop.
It has been a remarkable turnaround for the north-east outfit over the past 10 games. From seemingly being dead and buried, they have won three and drawn five to pull clear of the drop zone.
Next up is a clash with Manchester City at St James’ Park followed by a home game with relegated Sheffield United.They will face the Cottagers on the final day of the campaign.
But Bruce has been around long enough to know you can’t count your chickens.
“We are not safe, for the Premier League you can’t take it for granted. We are almost there,” he added. “Until it is done, we have to get ready for the next challenge.”
Newcastle are now performing as they did in the first couple of months of the season. And Bruce insists there is no real secret to their success.
“Once the big players have returned it makes a difference,” he continued. “We have struggled with injuries and Covid-19 and that has been a major change.”