Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce and has reportedly been involved in a training ground ‘bust up’ with Matt Ritchie, following criticism aimed at the player by Bruce during his post-match interview on Saturday evening.
The Magpies hosted Wolves at St James’ Park at the weekend, the home side taking the lead through a terrific Jamaal Lascelles header, before Nuno Espirito Santo’s side got back into the game with 17 minutes to go through former Porto man Ruben Neves.
With the game ending in a draw, Bruce used his post-match interview to vent his frustrations about the goal his side conceded, pointing the blame at substitute Ritchie who he believed failed to pass on tactical instructions to the rest of the team, with the visitors capitalising on the ensuing confusion to score just minutes after the Scotland international had entered the fray.
That public display of annoyance aimed at Ritchie reportedly did not go down well with the player, the Times reporting that it led to a bust-up on the training field between Bruce and the former Bournemouth man.
Ritchie had reportedly told assistant coach Steve Agnew he did not wish to speak to the manager in his office and labelled him a “coward” for waiting to discuss the matter at training, rather than on the phone after the game, with the players having had two days off following the draw on Saturday.
That seemingly left Bruce furious, the former Manchester United defender coming out to confront Ritchie on the training pitch, although the heated moment only ended in ‘shoulder-barging’ from the the 60-year-old, with no retaliation from the player.
Bruce is claimed to have said: “After all I’ve done for you” to his player, in reference to the fact the the former Sunderland boss had recommended to managing director Lee Charnley that both Ritchie and Jonjo Shelvey should be handed new contracts to remain at the club.
While Ritchie has since apologised, this ‘bust-up’ comes after reports that there are growing tensions between the Newcastle boss and his squad, amid their current fight to avoid relegation.
Only last week, goalkeeper Karl Darlow was seemingly furious after not being told personally that he would be dropped at the weekend, the 30-year-old finding out through media speculation rather than his manager that he would be replaced by Martin Dubravka.
Such discontent will surely do little to help their current predicament, with a huge game against fellow strugglers West Bromwich Albion to come at the weekend.
Newcastle currently sit 17th in the Premier League, just three points above the relegation places.