Newcastle head coach Steve Bruce has challenged his players to make amends for their horror show at Norwich as he once had to after a nightmare at the Nou Camp.
The Magpies were comprehensively beaten 3-1 at Carrow Road by the promoted Canaries last Saturday to leave fans fearing another long, hard season with a trip to Tottenham to come on Sunday before Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup second-round tie against Leicester.
Former Manchester United defender Bruce knows the only way his team can erase the memory of a bad day at the office is to put on a good performance at Spurs, and has personal experience to back up his argument.
He said: “Individually and collectively you can at times not play well. We all don’t intend to do it, but on the biggest stage of all, I remember me personally having a nightmare in the Nou Camp one night.
“I didn’t want to do it – absolutely hopeless, I was – so you don’t intentionally go out there to be poor on the day.
“What you have to do, though, is make sure that you don’t just accept it and you do everything you can to put it right, so if I can remember back as a player, the only thing you can do is look forward to the next game, put it right.
“Nobody gives us a squeak going to Spurs. It could be the right game to say ‘come on then, let’s see what we’ve got and go and have a go’.”
Bruce played his part as Manchester United rose to the pinnacle of domestic and then European football under Sir Alex Ferguson, who was never afraid to adopt a siege mentality.
The 58-year-old and his players have come in for concerted criticism following the opening two games of the season, and he knows that only better performances will silence the dissenters.
He said: “Some of the players have been here a long time. I think they know the expectations of the club and what it needs to be, but that’s the fabric of a big club – you have to perform.
“You’re under the spotlight and nobody is under the spotlight more than we are at the minute. The only way we can turn the thing around is by putting some back-to-back performances and results together, which will get us off and running.”