STEVE BRUCE has criticised the “mass hysteria” that accompanied Newcastle United’s midweek Carabao Cup defeat to Brentford – and claimed that his chief remit does not extend beyond keeping the Magpies in the Premier League.

Newcastle crashed to a 2-0 defeat at Manchester City this evening, capping a bad week that also the club crash out of the League Cup quarter-finals to Championship opposition.

Bruce’s side was heavily criticised in the wake of their defeat at Brentford’s Community Stadium, with the manager feeling some of the comments in the last three days have been over the top.

Bruce said: “I’ll let other people judge (whether it was fair or not). We had a bad week, but some of the mass hysteria, in my opinion, was unfair. A lot of it was not right, in my opinion. I’m probably going to say that, but that’s my opinion on it.”

Having replaced Rafael Benitez 18 months ago, Bruce has found himself battling against public opinion for the majority of his time in the hotseat on Tyneside.

The mood from a majority of supporters appears to have hardened against him in the last few weeks, but he clearly feels there needs to be a sense of reality about what Newcastle can realistically achieve at the moment.

He said: “All the fans are like we are – we have to accept where we are. It’s as straightforward as that. My remit is to make sure that Newcastle stay and remain a Premier League outfit. That’s what I’ll try to achieve.

“That’s where we’ve been for the last three or four years. Of course, for Newcastle, in a lot of people’s eyes, that isn’t going to be enough. But that is where we are at the moment. We have to accept it and keep trying to move it a little bit forward.”

With that in mind, Bruce felt his players performed creditably against Manchester City, even though statistics show they only had 12 per cent possession in the whole of the second half.

He said: “We lacked a little bit of quality in the final third and have given the ball away for the second goal, but I couldn’t fault their effort, application or attitude towards the game.

“There’s been a lot of criticism of the way we limped out of the cup, so the one thing you need is a response. It was always going to be difficult coming here, but I couldn’t have asked for any more in terms of the commitment and attitude shown by them.”