LEICESTER, United Kingdom (AFP) – Steve Bruce accused his Newcastle United flops of a “lack of effort” after a “totally unacceptable” 5-0 thrashing at Leicester City piled pressure on the Magpies boss late on Sunday night.
Brendan Rodgers’ side maintained their impressive start to the season as they moved up to third after romping to a fourth win in their last five Premier League games, while Newcastle sit second bottom after winning just once in their opening seven matches.
Ricardo Pereira opened the scoring in the first half before Newcastle’s Isaac Hayden was sent off for a dangerous tackle just before the break, and Leicester ran riot in the second half as Jamie Vardy struck either side of Paul Dummett’s own goal.
Wilfred Ndidi rounded off Leicester’s biggest league win since Rodgers arrived from Celtic to replace Claude Puel in February.
Bruce was furious with his players’ second half surrender and made it clear he won’t tolerate a repeat.
“It was totally unacceptable. The red card makes it difficult but you have to have more hunger. It was one of them horror shows,” Bruce said.
“It was not anywhere near good enough. We have to show more than what we did and roll our sleeves up more in difficult circumstances.
“As soon as the third went in the heads went down. The lack of effort towards the end was nowhere near good enough. That is the difficult thing to take.”
Mike Ashley’s decision to hire Bruce from Sheffield Wednesday was greeted with disdain by Newcastle fans and the under-fire 58-year-old already appears to be fighting to save his job.
With Ashley still being linked with a deal to sell Newcastle, Bruce could be gone before a regime change or very soon after unless results improve quickly.
“The one thing I pride myself on is being honest. I have only been here a few weeks but you learn on performances like today,” Bruce added.
“I always knew it was a challenge, I was delighted to take the challenge but let us hope we can turn it around. I have the appetite to do that.”
Rodgers’ appointment has proved an inspired move and Leicester look capable of challenging for a top four finish, especially given the inconsistent form of Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea.
“We’ve got a lot to learn still and a lot of improvements to make but the boys are absolutely brilliant,” Rodgers said.
“Like I say they want to learn which, as a coach, it’s the dream ticket really.
“Fantastic goals and a clean-sheet which is important because we want to defend well. Overall it was a great day for us.”
Portugal right-back Pereira has earned a reputation for lung-bursting surges that can unhinge opposing defences.
Playing a one-two with Ayoze Perez, Pereira surged towards the Newcastle area unchecked by the visitors’ defence before firing a fine finish into the bottom corner.
Bruce already cut a bedraggled figure on the touchline as the rain lashed down at the King Power Stadium.
And his day got even worse in the 43rd minute when Hayden was sent off for a reckless studs-up lunge on Praet that left the Leicester midfielder crumpled on the turf.