Steve Bruce takes criticism on the chin as Newcastle fans again vent their anger

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Steve Bruce admitted he had to accept the criticism which came his way as Newcastle saw a first Premier League victory of the season snatched from their grasp by Southampton.

The Magpies turned in a woeful first-half display at St James’ Park and were fortunate to go in 0-0 at the break with their head coach having had to listen to chants of “We want Brucie out” from a section of the home support.

They improved in the second half and looked to have won the game when Allan Saint-Maximin fired home at the death only for James Ward-Prowse to secure a 2-2 draw for the visitors with a penalty in the sixth minute of stoppage time.

Asked about the cat-calls, Bruce said: “Look, they’re entitled to their opinion. Our first-half performance wasn’t good enough, so I’ll accept that.

“In the second half, we were a bit more like ourselves, we played with a bit more intensity, we passed the ball to each other better and maybe did enough to win the match.

“But it was a disappointing afternoon all round.”

Newcastle, who had led through Callum Wilson’s 55th-minute header until Mohamed Elyounoussi levelled, thought they had banked the three points when Saint-Maximin smashed home.

However, the drama was far from over as VAR intervened and advised referee Paul Tierney to review Jamaal Lascelles’ challenge on former Magpie Adam Armstrong to allow Ward-Prowse to convert the resulting spot-kick.

Bruce, who saw his side lead twice against West Ham on the opening weekend of the season before going down 4-2, said: “We got a response from the team at half-time, that was pretty evident.

“I have to say, it wouldn’t have taken much to be better than we were in the first half, so I have to accept that.

“But second half, we showed a bit more intensity. We took the lead twice again today, we took the lead twice against West Ham, but we’ve only got one point to show for it.”

Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl was convinced a point was the least his side deserved after dominating for long periods at St James’, which has not been a happy hunting ground for them.

He said: “Yes, this is what I definitely think today. We have also in the past played here good games and never taken something. I don’t know why it was always running against us.

“But in this game, it was absolutely deserved that we got minimum a point. What we haven’t done is win today because the chances, especially in the first half, were there. But when at the end you take a point, you must take it.”

The visitors might have emerged with victory had midfielder Moussa Djenepo not squandered a gilt-edged first-half chance from point-blank range, much to his manager’s astonishment.

Hasenhuttl said: “If you tried 10 times, you could not make it again, kick it over the bar from one metre, so he misses an absolutely unbelievable chance when we have to score normally.”

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