NEWCASTLE UNITED boss Steve Bruce is coming to terms with the impact the coronavirus is having on the English game, and still does not see the point in matches being played behind-closed-doors.

But the Magpies manager, speaking ahead of a meeting of Premier League chiefs on Thursday to plot a way forward in the crisis, believes the health of the public is what is the most important factor to consider.

Newcastle were due to face Sheffield United at St James’ Park last Saturday and Bruce even held his pre-match press conference before the decision was made later in the day to cancel games.

Now Newcastle, like the rest of the country’s football teams, are unsure when and if the rest of this season’s matches will be played, while the government deals with the outbreak of Covid-19.

Bruce said: “All of a sudden this consumes your mind. Last week we prepared for a game against Sheffield United and now we’ve got players training individually.

“Training grounds are being shut down because of the environment we find ourselves in. It’s really difficult for everybody but the most important thing is the wellbeing of supporters.”

But Bruce, speaking to the Chronicle earlier today, stands by his suggestion last week that matches should wait to be played in front of fans rather than them being played in empty stadiums.

He said: “The most important thing for us is the welfare of our supporters. For me, it’s the players and the staff too. When the breaking news comes that the Arsenal manager has contracted it, health and people’s lives is far more important than a football match.

“The thoughts are with the supporters. For all of us, this is going to be difficult to comprehend what is going to happen and find answers to all the questions everybody will ask.

“The key to it all is people’s health - let’s not forget people are dying. A football match is just a match. For me, playing behind closed doors is something which I can’t see the point of. The whole thing that makes our football club is the 50,000 supporters that come and get behind us.

“Without that, you may get a result but it’s not for me and we’re governed by the authorities and we will see what they come up with.”