Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce

Alex McLeish has backed Steve Bruce not to allow a bust-up distract him from his job at Newcastle United.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Villa and Scotland boss backed his “good friend” to move on from the incident which was confirmed by Bruce on Friday.

As reported by the Daily Mail’s Craig Hope, Bruce physically confronted Matt Ritchie on the training ground after the winger branded the manager, 60, a coward to assistant boss Steve Agnew.

It is said teammates have sided with the 31-year-old over the incident, although he has reportedly apologised to staff and the players.

McLeish admitted it was a shame to hear about the row but backed Bruce to brush it off and focus on getting the best out of his players.

Asked McLeish told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge: “I would never rule Steve Bruce out.

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“Steve is a good friend and his accomplishment as a manager over the years has been excellent.

“He knows the game. He has to manage it the way he sees it and try to get the very best out the players.

“It was sad to hear about the bust-up with the player. Years ago these things would be kept within the dressing room. Now, we’ve got a new era of social media, things getting out.

“Everybody knows what’s happening within every club. Newcastle at the moment are in a wee bit of a spiral.

“It’s a shame Bruce has had this Matt Ritchie row. Seems a strange relationship.”

In other news, McLeish claims the Newcastle United dressing room will be in pieces after official statement.