STEVE BRUCE admits Newcastle United are one of “six or seven teams looking over their shoulder” in the bottom half of the table – but the Magpies manager remains convinced his side will beat the drop despite Monday’s capitulation at Chelsea.

Newcastle are just one place outside the relegation positions after their 2-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge, and the seven-point gap separating them from 18th-placed Fulham will reduce to four if Scott Parker’s side win their game in hand at Burnley this evening.

With Fulham then hosting Sheffield United on Saturday, it is possible Newcastle could be just one point clear of the drop zone when they return to action at Manchester United on Sunday night, but Bruce insists they are not the only side who could be sucked into the heart of a relegation fight.

“There are that many teams involved,” said the Newcastle boss. “It has been an unbelievable year. Everyone is making a fist of it down below, and there are six, seven teams looking over their shoulder. If we continue like we have done recently, we will be okay. There were a few positives in the second half (at Chelsea), and I think the players are enjoying it.”

In the absence of the injured Javier Manquillo, Emil Krafth struggled badly at right-back on Monday. The Swede is the only option for the role with DeAndre Yedlin having left to join Galatasaray on deadline-day, but Bruce has defended his decision to allow the American to leave despite the lack of a replacement.

“He was out of contract and we had three right-backs,” said Bruce. “We had to make way for somebody else to come in – I’ve got no regrets.”