STEVE BRUCE blasted the ‘mass hysteria’ among supporters after Newcastle’s nightmare week.
The Toon lost 2-0 to Manchester City on Boxing Day on the back of a 5-2 defeat to Leeds, a 1-1 draw with Fulham — and a shock 1-0 Carabao Cup quarter-final loss to Brentford.
Life does not get any easier, as the Magpies have a home game with Liverpool on Wednesday and then host Leicester on Sunday.
But under-fire Bruce has urged fans to be more realistic about the club’s position.
He said: “We had a bad week and some of the mass hysteria was, in my opinion, unjust and unfair.
“A lot of it was not right. I’m probably going to say that — but it is my opinion.
“We have to accept where we are. It is as pretty straightforward as that.
“My remit is to make sure we stay and remain as a Premier League outfit.
"That is what I will try to achieve. That is where we have been for the last three or four years now.
“Of course, for Newcastle, in a lot of people’s eyes, that isn’t going to be enough but that is where we are at the moment.
“We have to accept it and keep — as I have said many times now — trying to move it forward.”
The coronavirus crisis has also wreaked havoc on the Magpies, who have been one of the hardest-hit clubs by the pandemic.
They were without key duo Allan Saint-Maximin and Jamaal Lascelles at the Etihad after they were struck down with the killer virus.
Jonjo Shelvey and Ryan Fraser were absent through injury, while Fabian Schar and Federico Fernandez were returning after illness and fatigue.
Bruce added: “We’ve had an awful time trying to muddle through it all.
“We’ve had an awful outbreak of an illness that none of us know very much about.
“The one thing it has done is left a lot of the players fatigued, so we’ve been a bit mix and match — and have suffered in that way.
“But thankfully it looks as though most of them are getting through it and getting better, so that will stand us in good stead.”
Some Toon fans have even called for Bruce to be sacked after the club’s miserable run of results over the festive period.
The St James’ Park boss added: “After the criticism, we have faced over the last week or two, the one thing you want is a response from your team in terms of effort and endeavour.
“Of course that should be a given — but it’s been questioned.
“When I see people like Schar, who has trained twice in five weeks because of the problems we have had, they show resilience.
“It’s been a difficult time, and I understand that, but they have rolled up their sleeves.
“I think that in terms of application and attitude, I couldn’t really ask for any more.”
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