Steve Bruce schedules another SIX days off from nine for Newcastle squad despite growing threat of relegation at crisis club… with some players shocked manager hasn’t been sacked
- Steve Bruce has scheduled days off from nine for his Newcastle squad
- Players have been increasingly concerned at the amount of days off
- The struggling Magpies were easily beaten by Brighton at the weekend
- They now sit 17th in the Premier League, just two points above the drop zone
Steve Bruce has scheduled six days off from nine for his Newcastle squad despite the club being in crisis following the team’s surrender at Brighton on Saturday.
Sportsmail revealed this month that players were increasingly concerned at the amount of days off they were being given amid their fight for Premier League survival.
And that is why there is no longer surprise among the group at this latest plan to train for only three days this week.
Steve Bruce (centre) has scheduled six days off from nine for his Newcastle squad
The players were off on Monday and on Sunday and will return to the training ground on Tuesday, meaning the inquest into the 3-0 defeat at Brighton will not begin until three days after the game.
But we have been told there are also plans to give the squad four days off over the coming weekend, from Friday through to Monday.
As one source said: ‘The players are used to doing their own training by now. They are not surprised by the schedule.’
But we understand there was shock among the players when club sources let it be known on Sunday that Mike Ashley would be sticking by Bruce.
The struggling Magpies were easily beaten by Brighton at the Amex Stadium at the weekend
There is a feeling among some of the squad that the manager wants to be sacked, with the performance at Brighton the biggest indicator yet that he has lost the support of the dressing-room.
Bruce played without a recognised striker – Joelinton was deployed on the wing – and he left centre-forwards Dwight Gayle and Andy Carroll on the bench as unused substitutes. That pair stormed down the tunnel on full-time and did not reappear for the usual post-match workout.
Club staff are well aware that a section of players want to see a change of boss, but they are working on the understanding that Ashley will not sack Bruce, who has insisted he will not resign.
Newcastle have won two matches in 20 and are two points outside the relegation zone with nine games remaining.
There is a feeling among some of the squad that the manager actually wants to be sacked
Some players believe Bruce’s position is untenable and are confused and concerned by the owner’s stance.
The fact that another four days off have been pencilled in for this weekend has only added to the feeling among some that Bruce has lost faith in the players.
However, a club source said the scheduling of training has been taken with the mental and physical wellbeing of players in mind. It is hoped days off will ease the pressure and can be a positive ahead of their return to action at home to Spurs a week on Sunday.
Newcastle also have six players away on international duty, but only three of those started at Brighton.