Steve Bruce has admitted he needs wins and goals from his Newcastle strugglers quickly – but denies they are being sucked into a relegation fight.
The Newcastle boss insisted he could “see the positives” despite ending a tough run of fixtures without a victory in seven games.
They have included five defeats, and the mis-firing attack has managed just one goal in eight hours of play. It's one goal in ten hours from open play.
Newcastle visit Sheffield United who are winless in the Premier League, but buoyed by their first victory in 22 games after progressing in the FA Cup at the weekend.
Asked about building pressure, Bruce said: “If you manage in the Premier League you are under pressure, it doesn't matter who you are.
“I have been in it a long long time and it is all based on results. We all have to get them quickly.”
Asked if the season had become a relegation battle, Bruce said: “At the moment we have got a healthy cushion from the bottom three. If we were in the bottom three I would say maybe.
“But we knew this was going to be a tough run of fixtures. They don' t come any tougher than we have had over the last four games. So we are in that run where we have to get out of it on Tuesday.
“The way the players have gone about their work has pleased me. We have had Man City, Liverpool, Leicester. That is the Premier League. I take the positives. Arsenal didn't beat us in 90 minutes, Liverpool too. We have to be ready for the next challenge.”
Leading scorer Callum Wilson missed the trip to Arsenal as an unspecified “precaution”. He has eight goals so far and has propped up the season. The next top scorer is Jeff Hendrick with two.
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No one else in the £80m strike force, Joelinton, Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin, has managed more than one goal each.
Newcastle have the third worst rate of creating big chances in the top flight.
Bruce said: “Rather than sitting deep and playing off a low block we want to get higher up the pitch. That is always the difficult part. To win a game you have to score a couple. We had chances against Arsenal and that is the positive for me, we are trying something different.”
After a gruelling 120 minute cup tie, Bruce will bring in fresh players including Karl Darlow, Federico Fernandez, Fabian Schar, and Ryan Fraser is fit again. Wilson and Jonjo Shelvey were left out of the Arsenal trip.
Jamaal Lascelles is likely to be on the bench after struggling on his first game back since COVID and being “out on his feet” by half time at the Emirates.
Asked about Chris Wilder's struggles, Bruce added: “It proved it is a difficult league, year in year out. They took it by storm last year, in the top six this time. The same players are there. They have had a tough run.
“Sheffield United prop up the table and are still a very good side. They have had an awful run.
Since lockdown they have had a tough time.
“We have to go there with a mentality to win and hopefully we are good enough on the night.”
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