Newcastle news: Steve Bruce's explosive press conference about Matt Ritchie bust-up

Steve Bruce Newcastle press conference

Steve Bruce spoke to the media on Friday ahead of Newcastle United's trip to West Bromwich Albion.

The Magpies are currently nine points clear of the Baggies with a game in hand, but the clash represents something of a relegation six-pointer for both sides nonetheless. 

Reports concerning a training ground bust up between Bruce and Matt Ritchie, however, have dominated the media this week. 

The altercation arrived on the back of comments Bruce made following Wolves' equaliser at St James' Park last weekend.

In his post-match interview he suggested that Ritchie failed to pass on the relevant tactical instructions quickly enough after replacing Emile Krafth in the 72nd minute, and his public criticism of the Scotland international eventually led to their training ground clash. 

On Friday, Bruce faced the press ahead of the game and that topic was unsurprisingly at the top of the agenda. 

Evidently riled by the week's events, Bruce spoke passionately about his altercation with Ritchie and claimed the club have launched an investigation to determine the source of the leak, which the 60-year-old compared to an act of "treason".

"There is no denying that I had a row with Matt Ritchie. These things happen every week. Unfortunately, for us at Newcastle, it gets blown up into all sorts of proportion.

"As far as I'm concerned, Matty apologised. But it then leaks into the media and causes a frenzy which, at this particular time, with a big game coming up, we could do without it. We have to get on with it.

"It happens up and down the country but it doesn't get out. Unfortunately, he (Sportsmail journalist) has a source in and around the club, which obviously feeds him. That is the most disappointing thing, which we are all looking into to try and find out the culprit. It borders on treason. It's wholly disgusting."

Luke Edwards, who is the Northern football reporter for the Daily Telegraph, described it as "one of the more explosive press conferences" of his 20 year career covering Newcastle.

Bruce also strongly denied claims that he had personally leaked news regarding Karl Darlow's omission from the starting XI.

"I have to say, I find the story that I would go to a journalist and give him an exclusive that Karl Darlow wouldn't be playing at the weekend, I find it totally disgusting. If I thought I would do that, I would resign tomorrow. It's not true."

These are concerning times for the Magpies faithful and the week's events have served as an unwelcome distraction ahead of a nail-biting end to the season. 

It will be intriguing to see how the Newcastle players respond in Sunday's must-win clash. 

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