Newcastle fans were angered after Steve Bruce was seen smiling with Ole Gunnar Solskajer following last weekend’s defeat (Picture: YouTube)

Under-fire Newcastle manager Steve Bruce snapped at a reporter during his pre-match press conference after he was asked to defend his touchline demeanour following last weekend’s defeat against Manchester United.

Fulham’s recent resurgence has dragged Newcastle back into a relegation scrap they appeared destined to avoid following a 3-2 win over Southampton at the start of the month.

Newcastle were comprehensively beaten 3-1 at Old Trafford a week ago and are now just three points clear of the drop zone having lost nine of their last 11 games in all competitions.

Fans of the north east club were angered by watching their manager exchange pleasantries with Solskjaer on the touchline following another costly defeat, but Bruce defended his actions, pointing out that he had known the Norwegian for 20 years, while the United boss had been praising Newcastle for their performance.

When the reporter claimed that a number of fans were upset at him smiling with Solskjaer, Bruce said: ‘A lot of fans, or is that you? 

Steve Bruce’s Newcastle were beaten by Manchester United last weekend (Picture: Getty)

‘Listen, I’ve know Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for 20 years. If I’m caught smiling with him…

‘He was complimenting us on how well we played. So if that’s a bad thing that I’ve smiled with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer then unfortunately ok.’ 

Bruce’s side face an improving Wolves side this weekend as they aim to boos their survival hopes, but the United manager insists the relegation dogfight won’t be a straight scrap between the Magpies and Fulham.

He said: ‘It’s all to play for. It’s not just Fulham – there’s probably six or seven teams who are looking nervously over their shoulder. We’re one of them, we understand that, but there is still a long, long way to go.

‘You have to play everybody twice and it’s your accumulation of points over the season which is the key to it and getting to that magical figure. Whatever it is, you want to try and get to it as quickly as you can.

‘When you’re up against it you need to have a bit of luck on your side. We have to stay clear of injuries which has been a problem, Covid as well, so we’re now hoping we can have a clear run and players will roll their sleeves up and be prepared to do their utmost to stay in the division.’

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer rates Thomas Thuchel’s start at Chelsea

MORE : Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer rates Steve Bruce’s job at Newcastle United amid relegation fears

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