Steve Bruce has admitted Newcastle United “starved” Callum Wilson of any good service in their defeat at Southampton – and insists his side can no longer afford to be so sloppy in possession.
Wilson was afforded just 21 touches before being taken off against Southampton and didn’t manage a shot as Newcastle struggled to deal with the Saints’ high press.
The 2-0 defeat on the South Coast left Newcastle in their familiar 13th place in the Premier League and facing a tough task to bounce back in their next game against Chelsea after the international break later this month.
Bruce and his players will get a few days off after training from the start of the week until yesterday before the international players begin trickling back from various destinations next week after a host of UEFA Nations League games, play-offs and World Cup qualifiers.
Wilson, who is being continually assessed after a hamstring injury picked up against the Saints, was afforded barely any of the ball at St Mary’s Stadium.
When asked about service, Bruce said: “We starved him of it.
“We kept giving the ball away, which you can’t do against a really good Southampton team.
“We had to play off the front to better (than them).
“What summed our night up was the goals we gave away.”
Both Miguel Almiron and Sean Longstaff lost possession near their own penalty area with both Che Adams and Stuart Armstrong cashing in to win the game for the Saints.
Bruce was furious with the way his team handled the ball and said: “We gave it away far too often and in poor areas.
“It’s something we have worked on over the last few days, was to beat their press and play off the front, but we simply didn’t play well enough to do it.
“And of course and we didn’t cause them any problems at all.”