As the Premier League wrestles with the Covid 19 pandemic, Newcastle manager Steve Bruce has stressed the players must come first. The Magpies will head into the New Year still grappling with the repercussions of an epidemic that has seen key players battle their way back from the virus, including Captain Jamaal Lascelles and star man Allan Saint-Maximin.
Earlier this month, Newcastle’s planned league trip to Aston Villa was eventually postponed, and Manchester City and Fulham had to cancel their matches after testing positive. Bruce understands that in some circles there were demands for time off. “I really hope people understand that when it hits a footballer, yes, the vast majority of them just wash over it, but we’ve got one or two who are still fighting,” he said. “We have one or two players that are playing that are still not 100 percent and I have staff that have been really sick with it, so we have to have the well-being of the players first. “I understand that soccer provides everybody with everything, but we have to think about the health of the players and the employees who are doing the brunt of this horrible moment. I have experienced how easily this thing, as it has for us, can take hold of any climate. Steve Bruce hopes Newcastle will negotiate a new deal with Ciaran Clark (left), who is battling for the ball with Sadio Mane from Liverpool. Newcastle, who faces Leicester on Sunday, has been hit hard by the virus, also testing positive with midfielder Isaac Hayden and defenders Federico Fernandez and Emil Krafth. Irish international Ciaran Clark, who has not played a league match since February. I recall the one-two he did when he knew he was going to get hurt at Arsenal, but he did it for the team’s good. He’s a really, really good player. I know that talks with his agent are continuing, and I hope we can sign Ciaran in January because I want to keep him at the club. He deserves that, I guess.