Dubravka backs Bruce to succeed

Newcastle United
Newcastle keeper Martin Dubravka has urged his teammates to push for a top-10 Premier League finish in the final weeks of the season.

Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka says boss Steve Bruce is striving hard to be a success on Tyneside.

Former Sunderland boss Bruce’s appointment as Magpies manager was met with derision by many supporters, not only because he used to manage their fierce rivals, but also as he was succeeding the hugely-popular Rafael Benitez, who left the club after failing to agree terms on a new deal with owner Mike Ashley.

That meant Bruce was starting his spell in charge of his boyhood club on the back foot, but given Newcastle are one of the favourites to be relegated come the end of the season, his haul of four points from his opening four league games in charge is a respectful one.

The undoubted highlight since Bruce arrived at St James’ Park was the 1-0 victory at Tottenham last month, a result that may, for the time being, have given the 58-year-old a bit of leeway with disgruntled supporters.

Dubravka, who has flourished on Tyneside since being signed by Benitez, initially on loan in 2018, certainly feels Bruce deserves a fair shot at making his time on Tyneside a success, although he knows that will be a difficult task given the affection felt for the man he succeeded in the dugout.

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“It would be difficult for any coach coming after Benitez because he has a name. People loved him there,” Dubravka, who is currently away with Slovakia on international duty, told Pravda.

“Bruce was given the opportunity. It is challenging and he strives to motivate us very much in both matches and training.”

The 30-year-old, who has been an ever-present in the Premier League so far this season, is also pleased to have retained the number one jersey, as he knows positions can be up for grabs when a new manager comes in.

“It is important to me that my position has not changed. I’m continuing (to play) and I’m happy about it,” the former Sparta Prague player added.

Newcastle are unbeaten in their last two Premier League games, but they face the daunting prospect of travelling to Anfield to take on table-toppers Liverpool immediately after the international break.

The Magpies also face trips to Leicester and Chelsea, as well as a home clash with Manchester United before the end of October in what has to be regarded as a tough start to the season for Bruce since his controversial arrival in the summer.

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