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Steve Bruce: 'To call Newcastle's points tally lucky is an insult'

:Headline: Steve Bruce: 'To call Newcastle's points tally lucky is an insult':
The Magpies turned in a woeful display against Norwich on Saturday.

Steve Bruce claims it would be an "insult" to his players to suggest Newcastle are lucky to have gained the points they have to date in this season's Premier League.

The Magpies sat in 10th place in the table after Saturday's 0-0 draw with bottom-of-the table Norwich, slipping to 12th – but still seven points clear of the relegation zone on 31 – after Sunday's stalemate between Burnley and Arsenal.

Bruce's men were fortunate to emerge with something to show for their efforts after a woeful display against the Canaries, who passed up a series of chances to win the game, and they had to rely upon late, late goals to take four points from a possible six against Everton and Chelsea in their previous two league outings.

But asked if they had been lucky, the defiant 59-year-old said: "In the last couple of weeks, maybe, but I can't see that the accumulation of points over the last seven months of the Premier League is luck.

"I think that's an insult to the players, I really, really do. They might not be technically the best, but they go out and give us as much as they can give. That's all you can ask."

Newcastle's lack of fluency was highlighted by the coherent football Norwich played at St James' Park, albeit it without tangible reward, with Bruce having reverted to the conservative approach the club took under predecessor Rafael Benitez after his early attempts to play a more expansive game.

He said: "I could play the way Norwich play quite easily but, for me, it's all about keeping the club where we need to be. I could change just like that but I think if we changed to four at the back, we'd be in trouble.

"Look, I set us up to play this way because I think it suits the squad and it suits the team and it suits where we are at this particular moment, and I will make no excuses for it – that we are difficult to play against, difficult to beat, and can we pose a threat on the counter-attack?"

Bruce, who takes his team to League One Oxford for a FA Cup fourth round replay on Tuesday evening, admits he has been unable to put his stamp on the Magpies yet.

Asked if it looks like his team, he replied: "Not really, not yet."

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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool29271166214582
2Manchester CityMan City28183768313757
3Leicester CityLeicester29165858283053
4Chelsea29146951391248
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd29129844301445
6Wolverhampton WanderersWolves29101364134743
7Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd28111073025543
8Tottenham HotspurSpurs29118104740741
9Arsenal2891364036440
10Burnley29116123440-639
11Crystal Palace29109102632-639
12Everton29107123746-937
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2998122541-1635
14Southampton29104153552-1734
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton29611123240-829
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham2976163550-1527
17Watford2969142744-1727
18Bournemouth2976162947-1827
19Aston Villa2874173456-2225
20Norwich CityNorwich2956182552-2721
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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool29271166214582
2Manchester CityMan City28183768313757
3Leicester CityLeicester29165858283053
4Chelsea29146951391248
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd29129844301445
6Wolverhampton WanderersWolves29101364134743
7Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd28111073025543
8Tottenham HotspurSpurs29118104740741
9Arsenal2891364036440
10Burnley29116123440-639
11Crystal Palace29109102632-639
12Everton29107123746-937
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2998122541-1635
14Southampton29104153552-1734
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton29611123240-829
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham2976163550-1527
17Watford2969142744-1727
18Bournemouth2976162947-1827
19Aston Villa2874173456-2225
20Norwich CityNorwich2956182552-2721
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