By Kevin Phillips

23rd Dec, 2020 | 6:04pm

Newcastle Exclusive: Phillips drops bold Bruce verdict after shock development

Kevin Phillips has given Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce his full backing despite the club’s shock exit from the League Cup last night.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Sunderland and West Brom striker is adamant the 59-year-old would have prepared his team well and instead blamed the player who “were not good enough”.

The Magpies crashed out of the League Cup following a dismal 1-0 loss at Brentford in what felt like a pivotal night in Steve Bruce’s career on Tyneside.

While Bruce admitted that his critics are “fully justified”, he vowed to “dust himself off and get back to work” ahead of Saturday’s trip to Manchester City.

Phillips claimed the club would be “daft” to dismiss the experienced manager on the back of the loss.

“He is naturally under pressure but I still back Steve Bruce to come through this,” he told Football Insider.

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“He has had to come through so much at that football club. They have had the Covid outbreak of late and just trying to field an eleven has been tough.

“When you lose to Brentford away, at that stage of the cup, the fans are going to be very disappointed.

“It was not as if he put a weakened side out last night though, the players let him down. They were not good enough. They did not perform.

“Is that Steve Bruce’s fault? I do not think so. He would have done everything to prepare that team.

“Steve knows he is under pressure now but they would be daft to get rid of him. I still back him. They are sitting OK in the Premier League and that is the most important thing.” 

In other news, Leeds tipped to rival Newcastle United in pursuit of £100,000-a-week international.