Sat, 11 Jul 2020

Newcastle beat West Ham to give Bruce winning start

20 Jul 2019, 23:42 GMT+10

Shanghai - Steve Bruce watched from the stands as his Newcastle United side beat West Ham United 1-0 on Saturday to get his reign off to a winning start in Shanghai.

The 58-year-old, whose appointment as head coach has gone down badly with already disillusioned Newcastle fans, was unable to be pitch-side because of Chinese visa restrictions.

The former Sunderland boss is just three days into the job and this was only a pre-season friendly, but he will have been heartened by what he saw against what was on paper a strong West Ham side.

Bruce is looking for forward reinforcements but Yoshinori Muto made his case by poking the ball in from close range in the first half after full-back Jamie Sterry crossed.

In contrast to their meek 4-0 defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Wednesday in Nanjing in the Asia Trophy, Newcastle were committed and bit hard into tackles.

Midfielder Jonjo Shelvey was prominent in the first half against an insipid West Ham and said afterwards that Bruce "deserved more credit than he gets".

"Steve has come in and been a breath of fresh air," said Shelvey.

"The fans need to give him a chance and if we play like that (today) in the Premier League the fans can have no complaints."

Newcastle supporters were incensed that unpopular owner Mike Ashley last month failed to keep hold of coach Rafael Benitez, while Bruce's mediocre record in the Premier League and his link with rivals Sunderland have put him under the cosh right away.

But Shelvey said it was time to pull together to keep Newcastle - among the relegation favourites already - in England's top flight.

"We need to get some solidarity and stay in the Premier League for a long time," he said.

Newcastle fans will need to see much more than a friendly win over a poor West Ham side.

It may have been the other side of the world, but the disenchantment among them was never far from the surface in humid Shanghai.

They desperately want Ashley to sell the club and in the 25th minute at Hongkou Stadium came the first chant of "we want Ashley out". There were more just before half time.

Newcastle and local boy Bruce, who took over on Wednesday from the popular Benitez, begin their Premier League campaign proper on August 11 when they face Arsenal at home.

West Ham host champions Manchester City in their opener.

The final of the Premier League Asia Trophy was later Saturday between Pep Guardiola's City and Chinese-owned Wolves.

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