STEVE BRUCE was in no mood to apologise to Everton counterpart Carlo Ancelotti after watching Newcastle United deliver a smash and grab raid on Goodison Park in the most incredible fashion.

Deservedly trailing to two goals from Moise Kean and Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the 30th and 54th minutes, the Toffees were in complete control and should have had a greater lead when the game entered its final stages.

Despite having to take off the only fit striker, Joelinton, because of injury, Newcastle somehow came up with two goals in stoppage-time through unlikely goal-hero Florian Lejeune to claim an unlikely point.

It was enough to keep Newcastle seven points above the relegation zone and arrived just days after the late drama at St James’ Park when Isaac Hayden headed in a late winner against Chelsea.

But Bruce, no matter how poor Newcastle were for the majority of the 90 minutes, wasn’t in any mood to say sorry to former AC Milan boss Ancelotti who must have thought a fourth win was in the bag from his six matches in charge at Everton.

“I didn’t apologise! He shrugged his shoulders,” said Bruce. “As he said to me, he was 3-0 up in a European Cup final (against Liverpool in 2005 with Milan). He’s just reminded me. It’s football. It can happen.”

Bruce added: “We’re good in injury-time. With the problems we had, it was a difficult night for us, full stop. I honestly believed when I brought people on, and people were playing out of position, the last ten minutes was arguably the best we’ve played in the game.

“To score twice is just that little bit of luck. You can’t fault them. They’ve done it too often. The one thing they didn’t do is give up. They’ve somehow got a reward. There’s no disputing that we were second-best for large parts. It was a big struggle. They hung in there and got something.”

With 12 minutes remaining Joelinton was replaced with centre-back Fabian Schar and Lejeune had been introduced eight minutes earlier. Both defenders were to have crucial roles in the finish, with Schar sending over a cross for the opener even though it was Lejeune who scored two.

Eyebrows were raised when Joelinton was replaced with Newcastle trailing.

Bruce said: “Joe was struggling with an injury. Then I’m looking round and the severity of what I’ve got behind me. We’ve got no strikers, really. I wouldn’t want to put Jonjo Shelvey on. He wasn’t right.

“I’m asking people to play out of position. Centre-halves playing in midfield, midfield players up front. But they’ve stuck at it. If anybody deserves a couple of goals, Big Flo as well with the problems he’s had in his Newcastle career. The attitude I can’t fault.”

Newcastle face Oxford in the FA Cup on Saturday, but Bruce is unlikely to risk players if it could harm their chances of playing in the Premier League the week after, including Allan Saint-Maximim.

“I couldn’t play him after seeing him yesterday,” said Bruce. “He was nowhere near ready. We left him behind. We hope that he’s available for Saturday. We hope that we’ve got two or three or four or five. We need a few fit.

“Andy Carroll, DeAndre Yedlin, Saint-Maximin. Nabil Bentaleb. There’s maybe four. We’ve got a five-a-side team.”

Newcastle completed the signing of Bentaleb from Schalke on loan on Monday and he could figure this weekend to give him his first taste of life at St James’. An initial £850,000 loan fee has been paid, but that could become a £10m permanent deal in the summer.

“With the problems we’ve got, to keep it under wraps for a couple of weeks. He’s somebody that we identified. He’s a very good player. He’s played at the highest level for Spurs,” said Bruce, who is still interested in Inter winger Valentino Lazaro and has been credited with a move for Tottenham’s Danny Rose.

“I was particularly impressed with him as a young player when he burst into the scene, and gets a big-money move to Schalke, where he’s probably played 90 times at the top end of the Bundesliga. He’s a good acquisition, a good player.”

Bentaleb, 25, is an Algeria international, who represented his country at the 2014 World Cup and 2015 and 2017 Africa Cup of Nations. He previously played in the Premier League for Tottenham before moving to Schalke, initially on loan, in August 2016.

"I'm very happy to come back to the Premier League, especially with a club such as Newcastle," said Bentaleb, in an interview with Newcastle's official website. "The project really interested me.

"I wanted absolutely to come back to the Premier League. The coach had some trust in me and the club also - I saw that straight away - and I think it's the perfect move for me."