Steve Bruce rejects Neville criticism of laboured walk-out at Chelsea

Steve Bruce insists Gary Neville’s criticism of Newcastle United’s laboured entrance at Chelsea was unfair because his players had a THREE-MINUTE walk to get there (even though the temporary changing rooms are just 130 YARDS away!)

  • Gary Neville was critical of Newcastle’s players walking out at Stamford Bridge
  • Neville felt they did not appear together as they emerged after Chelsea’s side
  • Bruce rejected the criticism as they had a three-minute walk from a health club 

Steve Bruce has rejected Gary Neville’s criticism of Newcastle’s players not being together when they emerged from the tunnel at Chelsea – because they had a three-minute walk from a health club.

Neville could not understand why Bruce’s team entered the pitch with only nine men on Monday night, and they duly produced a woeful first-half showing..

‘Where are the rest of the team?’ said Neville on Sky Sports. ‘Half of the team are walking out. Be together when you walk out onto the pitch.

Newcastle’s players laboured from the tunnel after Chelsea had already walked onto the pitch

Steve Bruce rejected criticisms from Gary Neville that it reflected badly on Newcastle’s squad

Visiting players have been changing at the Chelsea Club facility adjacent to the stadium

Newcastle’s players changed at the health club next to the ground, 130 yards from where they emerged to get to the tunnel and Bruce insisted that walk took the squad three minutes

‘How many players have they got? Have they had someone sent off? You don’t leave the dressing room until all of you are together.’

The Chelsea Club, where Newcastle’s squad changed, is just 130 yards away from the corner access point for away teams to enter the Stamford Bridge pitch.  

But Bruce has hit back at the accusations concerning their start to the evening at Stamford Bridge.

‘I saw that thrown at us about the tunnel,’ he said. ‘Let me tell you, it was very, very difficult when we’re not even getting changed in the stadium. We had a two or three minute walk, from where we got changed in a health club. So I don’t really go with that.

Television pictures showed Chelsea lined up as Newcastle walked out minutes after they did

‘We found it a struggle in the first half, basically with the way Chelsea played. Second half we were much better. I’ve seen signs over the last few weeks that we’re ready for the challenge, and I’m quietly confident that we’ll achieve it (survival).’

Newcastle got beat 2-0 – both goals coming before half-time – to leave them fourth from bottom and six points clear of 18th-placed Fulham. 

Meanwhile, Bruce has played down Fulham manager Scott Parker’s bullish assertion that they can catch Newcastle in the coming weeks.

‘Fulham have won and closed the gap a bit, but they’re still struggling to win as well,’ he said. 

‘They have only won one in 13 games (it is one in 14). It’s all to play for. From 13th downwards you’re looking over your shoulder. 

‘If they (Fulham) are confident, then let’s see where we are at the end of the season. You have to quietly go about your job and get the points on the board.’

Bruce described the trip to Chelsea as ‘difficult’ but he is confident they will secure survival

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