"We've seen a few positives. I enjoyed watching us play, I thought we were a threat all night, I thought we played some good stuff at times, but we didn't get the rub of the green that you need.
"We just have to keep believing that it will turn round.
"We've only been going two weeks, so we'll look forward to the weekend."
Newcastle United crashed out of The Carabao Cup on penalties to Burnley on Wednesday night and 'The Saint' Allan Saint-Maximin was for once one of the villains as he missed the first penalty of the shoot-out against The Clarets and Miguel Almiron the other penalty to send Sean Dyche's men through to a next round tie with Rochdale but Bruce gave his French attacker instant absolution in his pre-match presser:
The home side dominated the match at St. James' Park without a scoring breakthrough and the worst fears of Newcastle fans who can only remember the black and whites winning a penalty shoot-out on very rare occasions over the years came true during the shoot-out on 90 minutes (no extra time in Round Two) as they exited the competition.
Fans favourites' Saint-Maximin & Almiron will do their utmost to bounce back from that disappointment to put Saturday's visitors Southampton to the sword in The Premier League as Steve Bruce's men seek their first points & win of the new 2021/22 season.
The pair did exactly that in February combining with Joe Willock to race into a 3-1 half-time lead with Willock scoring on his debut & Almiron notching a brace that was the first time Newcastle had scored 3 goals in The Premier League in the first half since 2015:
Yet a red card to Jeff Hendrick meant Newcastle were hanging on against a Saints onslaught most of the second half made even hairier by Fabian Schar having to go off injured after Newcastle had already used all of their substitutes leaving The Magpies with only nine men to drag the three points over the line.
Saint-Maximin was the star man against Southampton the season before at St. Mary's when he scored a late winner followed by a flamboyant somersault celebration to send the Geordie faithful on the long journey back to Tyneside in raptures:
Callum Wilson will return to the Newcastle starting line-up but it remains to be seen whether Newcastle will line-up with a back 5 or revert to the back 4 with which they beat Southampton in February having not won in the first three games of the season with the 5-3-2 formation which they so successfully employed in the solid run-in of last season although huge Premier League officiating errors were complicit in the two defeats.
Southampton have started the season with an away defeat to Everton and a draw to Man United at home on Sunday before an 8-0 win over Newport in The Carabao Cup last night. Former Newcastle striker Adam Armstrong opened his Premier League account at Goodison Park against the Newcastle manager who had sold him, Rafa Benitez.
Newcastle actually included a 40% sell-on clause in Armstrong's transfer to Blackburn so banked over £5M from the £15M Southampton purchase and Steve Bruce hinted that he may have even kept the Geordie striker at St. James' Park while predecessor Rafa Benitez sold him and Ivan Toney, two players who The Magpies will face this season:
The Saints have sold players for big fees like Danny Ings who went to Aston Villa for £30M and Jannik Vestergaard who joined Leicester City for £15M and bought cheaper replacements with potential including a new back four on paper comprising full backs Romain Perradu and Valentino Livramento plus centre halves Lyanco & Dynel Simeu to rebuild another team with Theo Walcott returning on a free transfer from Everton.
The fruits of such a transfer policy - and manager Ralph Hassenhutl's famed pressing - was in spectacular effect at the start of last season when a 2-0 win over a Newcastle side who had yet to find their real rhythm for the season sent them top of the Premier League after a sensational start to the season after wins against Villa and Everton also:
Yet they would spectacularly run out of steam as a relentless season went on and even managed to lose another game 9-0, this time against Man United at Old Trafford, when everything that could go wrong did and they eventually finished 15th in the table.
In his pre-match press conference on Friday morning, Steve Bruce confirmed that Geordie defender Paul Dummett and midfielder Isaac Hayden are in contention and hoping Saturday will be the game Newcastle get "up and running" and win:
The Newcastle Head Coach will be hoping for some better officiating at St James' Park on Saturday after refereeing howlers marred the first two Premier League matches of the season with a non-penalty given against West Ham tipping the match their way & the failure to send off Aston Villa's Emiliano Martinez for an "assault" in Richard Keys' words on Callum Wilson. The Magpies were also not given an attacking offside advantage a la Man City & Man United in the opening fortnight, fuelling talk of a conspiracy against Newcastle United. Spoiler Alert - there 100% IS.
Bruce will be hoping Newcastle are playing on a level playing field this Saturday following the controversy surrounding the decisions and Newcastle can bank all three points before heading into the international break so that he and his squad can regroup for a fortnight after a turbulent start to the season and get ready for the trip to Old Trafford and his old club Man United in two weeks time
Prediction - Newcastle 4 Southampton 2