Steve Bruce tells players they can’t use Covid outbreak as an excuse for Leeds loss

Steve Bruce insisted that Newcastle United could not use the club’s Covid-19 outbreak this month as an excuse for their poor performance at Leeds.

The Magpies were hammered 5-2 by the Yorkshire side and ended their recent winning run in the Premier League with a disappointing display.

Too many of United’s players failed to show up in the second half and as the defence threw in the towel, Leeds took full advantage.

Although, a number of players are still recovering from the virus that resulted in the game at Aston Villa being postponed.

Bruce, though, said: “I don’t want to make that an excuse.

“We made sure that we were fresh enough – I just think simply that we’ve given two or three poor goals away that have put a different reflection on the game.

“It’s hard to analyse it. Leeds caused us some problems all evening, but we showed a certain resilience against it.”

When asked where it went wrong, Bruce said: “For me, we always looked a threat the other way, but unfortunately, at the wrong time, we’ve given away poor goals, not defended well enough and got punished.

“I thought we gave the ball away too often, and at this level, you get punished.

“It’s something we need to improve on, the retention of the ball.

“Unfortunately, we gave it away far too cheaply.

“There were too many people who gave the ball away too many times, especially when we got into good areas where we could have hurt Leeds.

“We’ll keep working away at it.”

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