Newcastle squad hold clear-the-air talks after Matt Ritchie’s ‘coward’ jibe at Steve Bruce

Steve Bruce clashed with Matt Ritchie (Photo by Alex Dodd – CameraSport via Getty Images)

Newcastle United midfielder Matt Ritchie apologised to manager Steve Bruce after calling him a ‘coward’ during an altercation at the club’s training ground.

Details of a bust-up between the pair were leaked on Wednesday night, with Ritchie taking exception to Bruce’s claim that he failed to pass on tactical instructions to his team-mates when he came on as a substitute in the 1-1 draw with Wolves at the weekend.

Ritchie is said to have labelled Bruce a ‘coward’, among other things. The former Bournemouth man has now apologised to his manager in front of his team-mates, with the squad taking it on themselves to hold clear-the-air talks, according to the Guardian.

There is unease within the dressing room at St James’ Park as the Magpies sit just above the relegation zone and there was raised eyebrows at Bruce’s decision to criticise Joelinton, Martin Dubravka and Jamal Lewis after the draw against Wolves.

Bruce’s job is on the line (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) Photographer: PAUL ELLIS Provider: POOL/AFP via Getty Images Source: AFP

Just three points separate Newcastle and 18th-placed Fulham ahead of the Magpies’ clash against relegation rivals West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.

The must-win game comes at the worst possible time for Bruce, who has lost Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin to long-term injuries.

Callum Wilson is already facing two months on the sidelines, leaving the Magpies with little firepower in attack.

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