STEVE BRUCE has signalled his intention to play attacking football this season after seeing Newcastle launch their Premier League campaign in style with victory at West Ham.

A new-look Magpies side which included debutants Callum Wilson, Jeff Hendrick and Jamal Lewis claimed a deserved 2-0 win at the London Stadium on Saturday evening, with Wilson and Hendrick both scoring.

However, it was the brand of football they played which most pleased head coach Bruce after he had to abandon his plans to bring a more expansive approach to the club last season.

He said: “I saw a mate of mine this morning and he said it’s the best we’ve played in two or three years. I said, ‘Really? I’m not so sure about that, but if that’s what you think….’.

“We’re going to be a little bit different this year. I said last year that we would try to change and I didn’t think we were ready for it.

“With the players now that we’ve brought in and also the players that we’ve brought in in the last 12 months, the squad is bigger and better and we’ll try to be the way we were against West Ham.

“Now, it may be a little bit different against the really big boys of the league, but that’s the way we want to try to be.”

Owner Mike Ashley was in attendance at the weekend after launching a broadside against the Premier League following the collapse of the proposed Saudi takeover on Tyneside, and it emerged on Monday that the sportswear magnate has instructed lawyers Blackstone Chambers on the matter.

Asked if he had spoken to Ashley after the game, Bruce said: “No, I didn’t see him afterwards but believe he was delighted. It was good to see him enjoying watching his team win and play. As I’ve said many, many times, we’re better with the owner on board than not on board, so good, I’m glad he enjoyed his Saturday night.”


Bruce will make wholesale changes when Blackburn head for St James’ Park on Tuesday evening for a Carabao Cup second-round tie, with former Bournemouth winger Ryan Fraser in line to make a debut as defender Ciaran Clark returns from injury.

Bruce said: “There are some players who need a game. The squad is big enough now to make those changes and let’s hope we can get through to the next round.”

He said he will make “wholesale” changes, and that could mean chances for the likes of Mark Gillespie, Emil Krafth, Sean Longstaff, Matt Ritchie, Jacob Murphy, Dan Barlaser, Miguel Almiron and Joelinton.

However, striker Yoshinori Muto is close to agreeing a loan move to Spanish club Eibar, while Martin Dubravka (ankle), Paul Dummett (tendon), Fabian Schar (shoulder), Matty Longstaff (thigh) and striker Dwight Gayle (knee) are all out.

Blackburn will be without midfielder Bradley Johnson for the trip to Tyneside.

The 33-year-old emerged from Saturday’s 3-2 league defeat at Bournemouth with an ankle problem and, although he is expected to be fit for this weekend’s home clash with Wycombe, he will not be involved.