By Alex McLeish

26th Dec, 2020 | 8:00am

'I Know Him Very Well' - Exclusive: Top pundit drops intriguing Bruce-Newcastle claim

Alex McLeish has claimed the Newcastle United players deserve “ridicule” more than Steve Bruce for Tuesday’s League Cup defeat to Brentford.

The former Scotland manager, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, has insisted the Magpies boss will be hurting after a surprise defeat to a Championship outfit and that his squad let him down.

Josh Dasilva’s second-half goal was enough to sink the Premier League side and set up a semi-final with top-flight giants Tottenham.

For Newcastle, defeat made it three games without a win across all competitions after a 5-2 loss to Leeds United and a 1-1 draw against 10-man Fulham.

McLeish, who won the League Cup with Birmingham City in 2011, has admitted a huge chance has gone begging for the Magpies but that it is the players, not the manager, who deserve the criticism.

“It was a bad result for Steve, you could see the hurt on his face at the press conference but it was more prevalent the next day on the television,” Bruce told Football Insider.

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“He explained how badly he felt, as well as the fans did. Managers do get it, they do get the grief that comes with it, the sleepless nights and the fact that you’re there, one of the things that you’re striving for is to make your fans happy.

“If your fans are not happy then it’s the manager who is the guy who gets it, some players will get little asides but the manager, by and large, gets the flack and Steve is old enough and ugly enough – sorry Steve – to admit to that.

“Are they playing great football? From what I’ve seen, there’s some exciting guys in the team that, when they get unleashed, Newcastle can be a threat to anyone.

“Steve’s a proud man, I know him very well and he will be really, really hurting over the performance of the team. Individuals? I think it’s the whole team who should be getting ridicule.”

“That was a real chance for Newcastle to get to a semi-final for what, I don’t know how many years. I know how much happiness it brings to a club to get to the semi-final and indeed get to the final, it was awesome for the fans.

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