STEVE BRUCE has admitted there are some “difficulties” with the new handball law after Fabian Schar scored a controversial equaliser in Newcastle United’s 1-1 draw with Watford.

Schar fired home shortly before half-time, but replays show the ball fell into his path after Craig Dawson headed against Isaac Hayden, and the ball rolled down the Newcastle midfielder’s arm.

No one appealed for handball at the time, but the new regulations state that a goal should be ruled out if the ball hits a player’s arm in the build-up, regardless of whether or not there was any intention to handle the ball.

A similar incident earlier this season saw a possible Manchester City winner against Tottenham ruled out because of a handball offence by Aymeric Laporte.

In theory, VAR should have intervened to rule out Schar’s goal, but with referee Graham Scott failing to spot the offence on the pitch, the effort was allowed to stand.

Bruce said: “I haven't seen that, but there was a blatant offside one too where we're screaming on the bench because he's (Almiron) onside when the linesman puts his flag up.

“I thought Isaac just went for a challenge and I thought it was an aerial duel. But it did come off his hand, did it?

“Look, it's difficult. We're going to have many issues with VAR. It's not the fixed answer – I'm not so sure I'm a big lover of it, to be perfectly honest, but we've got it and we have to see how it goes.”

Having fallen behind in the second minute when deflections off Paul Dummett and Jamaal Lascelles enabled Will Hughes to open the scoring, Bruce felt his players displayed commendable spirit to come back to claim a point.

However, he also felt the afternoon was a ‘missed opportunity’ given Newcastle’s dominance for long spells and the number of chances they created.

He said: “It was hard work, but then again the Premier League is that, hard work. Considering we've got off to the worst possible start – it's given them a lift, if ever they needed a lift.

“They got a goal out of nothing, two deflections and all of a sudden, you're 1-0 down and you have to chase it a little bit, and of course you leave yourselves a little bit open.

“But overall, we had two big chances to win the game, two big chances, and didn't take them, so it's a missed opportunity. But I've been delighted with the response.

“We've had a decent week. It could have been better, of course, we could have been sitting with six (points), but considering all in all, I'll accept it.”

Bruce defended Miguel Almiron, despite the £20m Paraguayan extending his run of matches in a Magpies shirt without either a goal or an assist.

He said: “Well look, he's a delight work with day in and day out. It's one of those where he just needs one to get off. He needs a little break like Hughes got today, something to fall in front of him where it's practically a tap-in.

“Hopefully when he gets one, he'll get off and running because the two big chances fell to him today, but his work-rate and his appetite and his energy, and he's a good footballer, the kid. It's just we need him to score a bit more.”