Steve Bruce speaks out about the Matt Richie bust-up for first time

Newcastle manager Steve Bruce has admitted having a row with winger Matt Ritchie – but says the pair have to “move on”.

He also expressed disappointment that details of the bust-up had been leaked to the press.

A report on Thursday claimed that Bruce “physically confronted” Ritchie at the training ground, before the Scottish winger called the Newcastle boss a “coward”.

The exchange is reported to have stemmed from Bruce’s post-match comments after their 1-1 draw against Wolves last weekend, where he said that Ritchie hadn’t passed on tactical directions quickly enough prior to Newcastle conceding the equaliser.

The pair then clashed at training on Tuesday.

“We have to draw a line under it” – Bruce

Bruce spoke out about the incident for the first time on Friday morning in his pre-match press conference ahead of Newcastle’s trip to West Brom on Sunday.

He said: “Look, there’s no denying I’ve had a row with Matt Ritchie.

“Let me tell you, that happens up and down training grounds every other week.

“These things happen, unfortunately. And unfortunately for us, with Newcastle of course, it gets blown into all sorts of proportions.

“As far as I’m concerned, Matty apologised. As far as we’re concerned, and me personally, it’s over.

“It happens on a regular basis [at all clubs], but ours leaks into the media which, obviously, causes the frenzy, which, at this particular time when we’ve got a big game coming up, we could do without.

“As far as I’m concerned it’s over – and we get on with it. We have to draw a line under it and move on.”

Bruce then said it was “disappointing” that the story had been leaked.

“Unfortunately he [the reporter] has a source in and around the club, which obviously feeds him, which is the most disappointing thing, I have to tell you, which we’re all looking into to try and find out the culprit because in other clubs it simply doesn’t happen,” he explained.

Newcastle go into the game at the Hawthorns sitting in 17th position and three points above the relegation zone.

They have won just two of their last 15 games in all competitions.

West Brom, meanwhile, are nine points off Premier League survival, despite a 1-0 victory over Brighton last weekend.

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