Bruce Wants To Be As Popular As Rafa

Last updated : 04 November 2019 By Footy Mad - Editor

Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce says it would be "nice" to receive the same support as predecessor Rafael Benitez after celebrating an important Premier League win with the travelling supporters.

Newcastle's goalscoring woes disappeared as they found their cutting edge to ease past a woeful West Ham and move four points clear of the relegation zone.

Bruce, who has still not won over the supporters sceptical about his appointment as Benitez's successor, believes his team's first-half performance in east London was their "best 45 minutes" since he arrived in the summer.

Newcastle had scored once in their previous five games and led when Ciaran Clark lost his marker from a free-kick to head in the opener.

The visitors doubled their lead from another set-piece when Federico Fernandez outjumped Hammers goalkeeper Roberto, who wandered off his line, to head into the empty net.

Newcastle had plenty more chances to extend their lead, finally grabbing a third when Jonjo Shelvey clipped in a precise free-kick after half-time.

West Ham pulled one back when Fabian Balbuena bundled in from close range and set up a grandstand finish through Robert Snodgrass's neat effort in injury time.

But a dramatic equaliser would have been unfair on Newcastle, who hung on to spark wild celebrations in the away end at the full-time whistle.

"It could have been slightly better and a little more easier, the first half in particular was the best we've played since I've been at the club," Bruce told BBC Match of the Day.

"We looked rock solid and on the counter we looked very dangerous, but if we're going to be ultra critical we have to take the chances we got and if we had taken them we would have got four or five."

On the response of the travelling fans at the final whistle, he added: "I'm going to try and enjoy it and hopefully in time, with results, they will get behind me as much as they did Rafa. That would be nice."