FOR Steve Bruce, the spotlight is always on Newcastle United.

And that’s why he feels victory today over Watford, ahead of a two-week international break, would turn a mixed Premier League opening to a positive one.

It took Newcastle 12 games last season to pass the six-point barrier. They would hit that total today with victory, just four games into the season.

“This is a big game, big opportunity. Back to back Premier League wins are crucial and to get six points on the board three games in would be a big thing,’’ reflected Bruce.

“Since I walked through the door every game has been big, even the pre-season friendlies.

“It will be huge for us if we can get back-to-back wins before we go into the break. Six points from four, with who we have played, would be decent.

“But Watford are a good team. I’ve seen their squad, it’s a good side.’’

Victory at Tottenham Hotspur last Sunday was as welcome as it was surprising. Coming a week after the Magpies faltered at Norwich, Bruce quickly saw first-hand the difference on Tyneside after a victory.

He said: “When you get a good result everyone bounces into work. The groundsman was more pleased than the striker. It’s important for everyone when you can get a result like that.’’

So does the manager find defeats harder to take than a player? “Jesus, yes, absolutely. As a player you can play your best and get beat. As a manager, it’s your fault.’’

Bruce will be without Matt Richie for up to eight weeks after he was wiped out in the Carabao Cup defeat to Leicester in midweek.

He said: “Matt isn’t great – we think he’s going to be two months , ankle ligament damage, cuts, bone bruising. Thankfully it’s not six months but bad enough when it’s still best part of two months.

“Frustrated, disappointed, angry – whatever you want to call it, Matt is feeling it. He’s a great character, but will get over it and get to work.’’

“I’ve a doubt about Emil Krafth, Jetro, Almiron is a problem, Joelinton should be OK, but let’s see how they shape up.’’