Thomas Tuchel says he will not celebrate Chelsea's Premier League title rivals slipping up, despite his side opening up a three-point gap at the top of the table.

The Blues moved three further clear at the summit on a day when Liverpool were held 2-2 by Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester City lost 2-0 at home to Crystal Palace.

Without injured strikers Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner, Chelsea lacked a cutting edge in the final third before wing-back Reece James opened the scoring after 65 minutes.

James added a second and Jorginho rounded off the scoring for the leaders in a 16-minute goal glut at St James' Park as Chelsea made it six wins in a row in all competitions.

But rather than revel in Chelsea's three-point lead on Liverpool and five-point advantage over reigning champions City, Tuchel intends to just focus on his own side's performance.

"It's not a moment where we celebrate results on the other pitches," he said. "It's too early and we want to focus on ourselves.

"What goes around comes around. There is a long way to go and if you think I'm even happier now, this is not true.

"We need to keep our feet on the ground. I am happy with the team effort today, but we don't celebrate other teams' results. 

"You can lose in this league any match at any minute. So we focus on us and keep going. Let's see where it goes, but it's a long way."

James did what Chelsea's star-studded attack could not by finding a way past the Newcastle defence, the defender taking his tally of goals to four for the season.

The England international also has three assists, with his seven direct goal involvements more than any other Chelsea player this campaign.

Tuchel is pleased with the work of his wing-backs, with Ben Chilwell operating down the other flank, but feels his attacking players also deserve credit for their part in the goals.

"Reece is allowed to come inside, that's not a problem," Tuchel said when asked about the role of his wing-backs. 

"All the spaces we want to attack from, we have all the players in the spaces we want to be dangerous. 

"So if there is a winger waiting wide, the wing-back is allowed to attack the half space.

"I think every team does this in this system. We need the wing-backs to arrive in our box to increase the chance of scoring and create goal chances. 

"The first goal, it was brilliant dribbling from Callum on the left side. 

"Ruben [Loftus-Cheek] arrived, Kai [Havertz] was in the box, and this is what it takes in the end to have a rebound and a chance for a goal. Reece took it brilliantly.

"It's a complex game and I don't think Reece can score if Callum does do the dribbling and Chilly opens the space.

"We have Kai attacking space and then Ruben. This is why sometimes our strikers are sacrificing space. We don't need exercise shooting with Reece – he shoots like a horse."

Newcastle are winless after 10 league games for the third time in their history, having previously done so in 1989-90 and 2018-19.

Graeme Jones, who was in interim charge for the second game while the club seeks a permanent successor to Steve Bruce, was disappointed with the way his side collapsed.

"For 65 minutes we were right in the game," he told BBC Sport. "We had a little spell of momentum just before their first goal and generally I was really pleased. 

"You have to remember that we are up against the Champions League winners and the current Premier League leaders. 

"We were competitive in the game with the way we went about it. It was working up to that point. Once the first goal went in that is when the disappointment came from. 

"The manner of the reaction. Three goals in 16 minutes was disappointing because the game was never that wide open."

Reece James' second-half double stretched Chelsea's advantage at the top of the Premier League as he fired the leaders to a 3-0 win at Newcastle United.

The Blues, without the injured duo of Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner, initially lacked cutting edge in the final third as Kai Havertz took a central role up front.

Their main threat against a Newcastle team content to sit back and play on the counter was Hakim Ziyech, who saw a goal disallowed for offside and hit the post.

However, James eventually found a way through, lashing a superb left-footed drive into the top-left corner in the 65th minute before taking advantage of lackadaisical defending from Newcastle, who then conceded a late penalty to enable Jorginho to apply gloss to the scoreline. 

Chelsea moved three points clear at the summit after Liverpool were held to a 2-2 draw by Brighton and Hove Albion while Manchester City lost 2-0 at home to Crystal Palace.

Ziyech bent beyond Karl Darlow in the 28th minute only to see the offside flag correctly raised against him and then blazed over from close range after Callum Wilson was dubiously ruled to have fouled Andreas Christensen.

The former Ajax star hit the post when a long-range strike deflected off Jamal Lascelles, but Newcastle's resistance was broken in style by James.

His second was less aesthetically pleasing, James slicing beyond a stricken Darlow after Ruben Loftus-Cheek's effort was blocked with Newcastle's defence all over the place.

Darlow's bemusing foul on Havertz allowed Jorginho to coolly convert from 12 yards and help Chelsea solidify their position at the summit in emphatic fashion.

Paul Pogba's future at Manchester United remains unclear with his contract winding down.

The 28-year-old midfielder has so far opted against re-signing with the Red Devils.

Pogba had started the season brightly with United but was sent off in Sunday's 5-0 loss to Liverpool.

TOP STORY – UNITED WILLING TO LET POGBA GO FREE

Manchester United will not sell Paul Pogba in January despite the France international becoming a free agent at the end of the season, reports The Telegraph.

United face missing out on recouping some of the £89million they spent on Pogba in 2016 when he joined from Juventus, who are one of the teams who have shown an interest in signing him.

Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain have also been linked with the World Cup winner.

 

ROUND-UP

Nicolo Barella will re-commit to Inter and sign a new five-year contract with the Italian champions next week, reports Fabrizio Romano. Barella had been linked with the likes of PSGAtletico Madrid and Liverpool.

Eden Hazard will be permitted to leave Real Madrid by boss Carlo Ancelotti if he wants to go, according to Marca. Former club Chelsea and Newcastle United have been linked with the winger.

Tottenham are making plans for Hugo Lloris' exit with Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, formerly of rivals Arsenal, top of their list, claims the Independent.

Liverpool are hoping for Mohamed Salah to agree to a bumper new deal before the January transfer window opens, reports Football Insider.

Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner will not return for Chelsea before the November international break, Thomas Tuchel revealed ahead of Saturday's trip to Newcastle United.

Neither Lukaku nor Werner have featured for the Blues since their 4-0 Champions League win over Malmo on October 20 due to respective ankle and hamstring injuries.

The pair were initially ruled out of matches against Norwich City and Southampton, both of which Chelsea won – albeit only on penalties against Saints.

But Tuchel will again be without the forwards at Newcastle and also for meetings with Malmo and Burnley prior to the pause in club action.

Lukaku and Werner are now targeting a potentially pivotal stretch when the season resumes, as Chelsea face Leicester City, Juventus and Manchester United in succession.

"Timo and Romelu are still out because of their injuries," Tuchel told a pre-match news conference. "Christian Pulisic did join the last two training sessions, but it's still too early, given the time that he missed."

He added: "I'm not a friend of deadlines and putting pressure on expectations, but I can tell you that it's realistic that both of them, Timo and Romelu, have a new target, and that target is after the international break. That is what we aim for and they aim for.

"With Christian Pulisic, we are looking at the Burnley match."

Tuchel otherwise provided largely positive news on the injury front, although he later revealed Mateo Kovacic had suffered a hamstring injury in training and was also likely to be missing for close to a month.

"Everybody else is available," Tuchel said. "Azpi [Cesar Azpilicueta] is back on the pitch, Ruben [Loftus-Cheek] is back on the pitch, N'G [N'Golo Kante] is back on the pitch. They are with the team tomorrow and ready to play."

The coach is hopeful the absence of the injured players will not be too keenly felt.

Chelsea have already had 14 different goalscorers in the Premier League this season, the earliest in a campaign any team have ever had as many players score in the competition (excluding own goals).

"We have to compensate the loss of Romelu and Timo," Tuchel said. "We did score before with different goalscorers, but now it's even more necessary."

Chelsea have perhaps been fortunate in that sense, so far outperforming their expected goals (xG) total of 15.0 in scoring 23 goals – the biggest disparity in the division.

Tuchel's men also have the biggest difference between xG against (10.7) and goals conceded (three).

"Let's be honest: we're relying a little bit too much on the performances of our goalkeepers this season," said Tuchel, with Edouard Mendy preventing 3.2 goals according to expected goals on target data, by far the best performance in the league.

"Still, we have a certain stability, and we want a certain stability mentally to overcome difficult situations in games. We believe we can overcome them."

That belief might be put to the test by Newcastle, who have lost five of their past six Premier League games against Chelsea but are buoyed by a lucrative takeover that has brought the St James' Park crowd back on side.

"Things have changed for them, obviously, maybe changed within the dressing room, the spirit within the club, the belief of the city, the belief of the supporters with what's coming," Tuchel said. "Maybe that affects the atmosphere in the stadium for them and of course for us.

"But we experience right now that there is a huge value to play against us, and we have come out of these matches as so-called favourites. I liked a lot how we approached these matches with intensity and effort."

Dusan Vlahovic has already made it clear he will not re-sign with Fiorentina.

The in-demand Serbia international is wanted by a host of European clubs.

Juventus are reportedly ready to make their move.

 

TOP STORY – VLAHOVIC TO TURIN IN JANUARY?

Juventus are eyeing a January swoop for Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic, according to Tuttosport.

Vlahovic has no plans to re-sign with Fiorentina and the Serbia forward has been linked to Juve, Inter, Atletico Madrid, Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham.

But Juve are believed to be desperate to prise Vlahovic from Florence amid their struggles, while Gazzetta dello Sport claims contact has already been made.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Daily Star reports Manchester United have cooled their interest in Antonio Conte as a possible replacement for under-fire manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer due to his expensive demands. Zinedine Zidane, Ajax boss Erik ten Hag and Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino have also been linked.

Real Madrid and Liverpool are considering moves for United midfielder Paul Pogba, says Ekrem Konur. Pogba is out of contract at the end of the season and he has been linked with Barcelona, PSG and Juventus also.

- ESPN claims Chelsea and Newcastle United have been sounded out over their possible interest in struggling Madrid star Eden Hazard.

- Serie A rivals Inter and Juve are set to battle it out to sign Borussia Monchengladbach star Matthias Ginter, per Sport Bild.

Nicolo Barella will sign his new Inter deal next week, according to Fabrizio Romano. Barella had been linked with the likes of PSG, Atletico and Liverpool.

This weekend could perhaps spell the end of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United tenure, and opponents Tottenham have a player capable of causing real damage.

Elsewhere, the form of Manchester City's sort-of-striker Gabriel Jesus and Newcastle United's possibly-only-striker Callum Wilson make them worthy considerations for your fantasy teams for this weekend.

There is also a more surprising pick from Southampton who could offer some real value.

Below are Stats Perform's weekly suggestions for fantasy football players, powered by Opta data...

 

AARON RAMSDALE (Leicester City v Arsenal)

It was a signing that did more to raise supporter eyebrows than excitement levels, but Aaron Ramsdale is beginning to prove his worth for Arsenal.

Having grasped the number-one spot with two gloved hands, the former Sheffield United man boasts a save percentage of 80, having kept out 16 of 20 shots on target faced.

Given only Edouard Mendy can do better among goalkeepers to play more than 90 minutes this season, Ramsdale has surely earned a shot in your side.

TINO LIVRAMENTO (Watford v Southampton)

Trent Alexander-Arnold is the only defender to create more chances in the Premier League this season (12) than Southampton's Tino Livramento (10).

Something of a revelation on the south coast, he could become just the third 18-year-old this century to start the first 10 games of a Premier League season after Micah Richards (2006-07) and Phil Jones (2010-11).

Since Watford have won just one of their past 13 league games with Southampton, Livramento seems worth a punt.

 

TRENT ALEXANDER-ARNOLD (Liverpool v Brighton and Hove Albion)

If you don't know by now that Trent Alexander-Arnold tends to get quite a lot of points for a defender, you've probably not been paying attention.

This season, the Liverpool star is ranked eighth in the Premier League for expected goal involvements (excluding penalties), while only Bruno Fernandes (34) has created more chances (25). And he's a right-back.

Alexander-Arnold might just be prime captain material for this weekend, particularly if you think the Reds can keep a clean sheet at home to Brighton and Hove Albion.

DEMARAI GRAY (Wolves v Everton)

It's not all going swimmingly for Rafael Benitez at Everton, but Demarai Gray is looking like a real bargain, having joined for around £1.7million from Bayer Leverkusen.

With three goals and two assists in nine games this season, he has already matched his best tally for direct goal involvements in a single Premier League campaign.

He also happened to score the last time he played against Wolves, for Leicester City in January 2019.

 

SON HEUNG-MIN (Tottenham v Manchester United)

Of Son Heung-min's 17 Premier League goal involvements in 2021, 13 of them have come at home, a tally bettered only by Bruno Fernandes (15).

The Tottenham star has developed a knack for playing against Manchester United, too. After going eight games without a goal against the Red Devils, he scored three and set up another in their two meetings in 2020-21.

Could he be the man to spell the end for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer?

 

GABRIEL JESUS (Manchester City v Crystal Palace)

Gabriel Jesus has scored three and assisted six goals in his most recent nine league starts for Manchester City. His five assists in 2021-22 means he is already just two shy of the most he has ever managed in a single season.

Saturday's game with Crystal Palace will be a special occasion for City, as it will be Pep Guardiola's 200th Premier League game in charge (naturally, his 146 wins in his first 199 matches is a record).

It's hard to look beyond a comfortable City win: they have lost only once to Palace in 12 league meetings, while that 3-2 defeat in December 2018 was the only one of their past 50 matches to kick off at 15:00 local time on a Saturday that has ended in defeat.

CALLUM WILSON (Newcastle United v Chelsea)

Plenty of star names could be on the horizon for Newcastle United, but Callum Wilson has looked determined to prove he has a place in the new era at the club.

The striker has six goals in his past six league games, as many as he managed in his previous 21, and is hoping to score for the fourth match in a row for only the second time in the Premier League.

Newcastle might be up against it to beat Chelsea, but the Blues have so far conceded just three times which is almost eight fewer than their expected goals-against total of 10.7. At some stage, that will have to give...

Newcastle United have announced that the fan who was taken ill during their 3-2 defeat against Tottenham on October 17 was discharged from hospital on Tuesday.

Alan Smith, 80, collapsed in the first half of the game at St James' Park and the contest was suspended for 20 minutes while he received emergency treatment.

Eric Dier and Sergio Reguilon were alerted to the situation by supporters in the East Stand and the former rushed across the field to seek assistance from staff members, with one bringing a defibrillator to Mr Smith.

Mr Smith was taken to the hospital and, on October 20, his son provided an update on his father's health, revealing that he was recovering well and was "fully alert and walking about".

Newcastle released a further update on Wednesday explaining that, following four stents to aid his recovery, Mr Smith has now been allowed to return home and will spend the next two to four weeks building up his strength with the aim of returning to St James' Park at the end of November or beginning of December.

 

Any hopes of Paul Pogba remaining at Old Trafford appear to be fading. 

The Manchester United stalwart has halted contract talks with the club. 

Multiple European clubs are said to be interested in the 28-year-old. 

 

TOP STORY – POGBA ENDS MAN UTD TALKS

Paul Pogba has ended talks over a potential new contract at Manchester United amid an apparent row with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, The Sun reports. 

The France international will be out of contract in June and appears likely to move on. 

The Sun reports he apologised to his team-mates but did not speak to Solskjaer after being sent off 15 minutes after coming on as a substitute in Sunday's 5-0 thrashing by Liverpool. 

His former club Juventus could be an option, while Paris Saint-GermainReal Madrid and Barcelona are also said to have shown interest. 

 

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona would prefer to have Jurgen Klopp take over whenever they sack Ronald Koeman, says Sport. Klopp is under contract with Liverpool through 2024. 

- Newcastle United are prepared to offer Alex Ten Hag £6million a year after taxes if he leaves Ajax for St. James' Park, reports the Mail. 

- Arsenal and Manchester City are interested in Barcelona's Spain international Sergi Roberto, says Fichajes. 

- Inter have had talks with Sampdoria midfielder Morten Thorsby's agent over a potential move, claims Calciomercato. 

- River Plate forward Julian Alvarez is drawing interest from Milan, Bayer Leverkusen and Aston Villa, says Calciomercato. 

Manchester City had a relatively quiet off-season in the transfer market.

City landed Jack Grealish from Aston Villa in a big-money move but failed in their efforts to sign Tottenham star Harry Kane following Sergio Aguero's exit.

But the Premier League champions could be more active in the January transfer window.

 

TOP STORY – CITY PLAN FOR DE JONG SWOOP

Manchester City are plotting a move for Barcelona star midfielder Frenkie de Jong, according to Calciomercato.

De Jong, who also has interest from Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, signed a five-year deal with Barcelona effective from July 2019, tying him down to 2024.

The 24-year-old Netherlands international has made 11 appearances in all competitions this season and is yet to score.

 

ROUND-UP

- Fabrizio Romano claims Manchester United have made no official proposal for former Chelsea and Inter boss Antonio Conte yet amid doubts over the future of Red Devils manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer following Sunday's 5-0 rout at the hands of Liverpool. Zinedine Zidane and Ajax's Erik ten Hag are also possible options.

- Manchester United's wantaway Dutch midfielder Donny van de Beek is preparing to make a January move with Voetbal International claiming he has swapped agents. EvertonNewcastle United and Juventus are all interested in Van de Beek, per Metro.

Paris Saint-Germain will switch their attention to Bayern midfielder Corentin Tolisso if they cannot secure a move for Manchester United's Paul Pogba, reports Calciomercato. Pogba has also been linked with Juve and Real Madrid.

Newcastle and Juve are contending to sign Barca forward Ousmane Dembele, according to Sport. Dembele is set to exit Barca at the end of this season and his agent has reportedly been in touch with both clubs about a move, while Liverpool and United are also possible destinations.

 

Following a complaint about the unveiling of a banner by Crystal Palace supporters in their Premier League clash with Newcastle United at Selhurst Park on Saturday, police assessed the concerns and have confirmed that they will be taking no further action.

The banner criticised the Premier League's Owners' and Directors' Test in light of the recent takeover of the Tyneside club by a Saudi consortium.

A large sheet depicted caricatures including a man in traditional Arab dress holding a sword covered in blood, a mock-checklist of the Owners' and Directors' Test, a bag of money and the letters "P.I.F" written on the man's clothes.

The banner also showed a magpie, seemingly representing Newcastle, whose nickname is the Magpies.

A member of the public made a complaint to police following the game, with a statement from Croydon MPS saying "On Saturday 23 October police received a report of an offensive banner displayed by Crystal Palace fans. Officers are assessing the information and carrying out enquiries. Any allegations of racist abuse will be taken very seriously."

However, Croydon MPS confirmed on Monday that, following an assessment, they would be taking no further action. 

The match ended in a 1-1 draw, with a spectacular Callum Wilson overhead kick cancelling out Christian Benteke's opener for the home side.

Newcastle are currently searching for a new manager following the recent departure of Steve Bruce.

What does the future hold for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer?

His position as Manchester United manager is becoming more uncertain after an embarrassing loss to Liverpool.

A former Premier League-winning boss, Antonio Conte, is believed to be waiting in the wings.

 

TOP STORY – CONTE EYEING UNITED ROLE?

The Manchester United job would be a priority for Antonio Conte should the Red Devils part with embattled manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, according to Sportitalia journalist Gianluigi Longari.

Solskjaer is facing fierce criticism following Sunday's humiliating 5-0 defeat to Premier League rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford.

Former Inter and Chelsea boss Conte has been linked with Newcastle United following talk of a pre-season move to Tottenham, while the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag and Paris Saint-Germain's Mauricio Pochettino could reportedly be considered for the United role.

 

ROUND-UP

- Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger is in talks with Manchester City, Tottenham and Juventus, per Gianluca Di Marzio. The Germany international is available on a free transfer at season's end amid reported interest from Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain.

- Marcelo wants to leave Madrid for Fluminense in 2022, claims El Nacional. Marcelo is out of contract at the end of the season.

- El Nacional says Barcelona have decided to sell United States international Sergino Dest. The 20-year-old has struggled for form at Camp Nou and he has been linked with Bayern.

Inter and Juve both identified Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic and Sampdoria's Mikkel Damsgaard, per Calciomercato. Vlahovic has also been linked with City, Atletico Madrid, Tottenham and Arsenal.

- Calciomercato claims Serie A high-flyers Milan are eyeing Brest midfielder Romain Faivre.

 

Inter CEO Giuseppe Marotta said there is "absolutely nothing" in reports claiming talks between the Serie A champions and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) regarding a potential takeover.

Suning's ownership of Inter remains in doubt, despite the sales of star pair Romelu Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi, as the economic fallout caused by the coronavirus pandemic continues.

PIF completed a takeover of Premier League side Newcastle United, though they were linked with Inter prior and they reportedly remain interested in the Nerazzurri.

Marotta, however, dismissed the possibility of Suning seeking a sale in the immediate future.

"I am not a shareholder, but in the past few days I have spoken with the president and he has given reassurances on his continuing on," Marotta told DAZN prior to Sunday's 1-1 draw with Juventus.

"There are absolutely nothing concrete to do with that fund, as far as the question of ownership.

"I limit myself to managing the club with my colleagues, we try to do it in the best way."

Toni Kroos has fallen out of favour with Real Madrid. 

A January transfer is a top priority with the World Cup looming.

Could a reunion with Pep Guardiola await? 

 

TOP STORY – KROOS HEADED TO CITY?

Manchester City have reached out to Toni Kroos about a January transfer, El Nacional reports. 

The Germany international has played in just one league match for Real Madrid this term. 

The 31-year-old previously played for City boss Guardiola at Bayern Munich and a reunion could be on the cards. 

 

ROUND-UP

- Ferran Torres is set to land a contract extension at Manchester City, says the Daily Star, with the new five-year deal set to pay him £100,000 a week.

- Lazio midfielder Luis Alberto could be headed for a reunion with Simone Inzaghi at Inter, reports Calciomercato. 

- Everton lead several clubs in pursuit of Manchester United's Jesse Lingard, says Football Insider, with West Ham and Newcastle United also interested. 

- Liverpool and Manchester United are among the clubs queuing for 18-year-old United States and Dallas sensation Ricardo Pepi, the Mirror reports. Milan, Juventus and Bayern Munich also have been linked to the teen. 

- Newcastle have increasingly focussed on Ajax's Erik ten Hag to replace Steve Bruce, the Express reports, adding that Marc Overmars could also make the move to St. James' Park as director of football. 

 

Erik ten Hag says Marc Overmars' work at Ajax is not over amid reports that Newcastle United want the Eredivisie champions' technical director.

Newcastle parted ways with Steve Bruce following their Saudi-backed takeover by Public Investment Fund (PIF) and have been linked with the likes of Paulo Fonseca, Lucien Favre and Frank Lampard to take over as head coach.

The Magpies are said to have lined up Overmars for the role of technical director, but Ajax head coach says this is not the time for the former Netherlands and Arsenal winger to depart.

"The positional of technical director is one for the long term," Ten Hag told reporters.

"Marc set things in motion a few years ago. He did this from a certain vision, he introduced structure and managed. It’s started to grow and I don’t think the process is over yet.

"Marc hasn’t informed me [about the Newcastle interest]. I don’t think he’s withholding anything from me either.

"I’m not working on [Overmars going] and now is definitely not the time."

Ten Hag added: "We are growing as a team. And if I expect the players to be busy with that, the trainer should also only be busy with the team.

"Now they shouldn't be working on it [transfers] either. It is now important that you focus on performing with Ajax."

Pep Guardiola came to the defence of 'exceptional gentleman' Steve Bruce following his recent departure from Newcastle United earlier this week.

A decision that looked on the cards following the completion of the club's Saudi Arabian-backed takeover, Bruce left the Magpies by mutual consent on Wednesday after a difficult start to the Premier League season.

Newcastle are yet to win in the league this season, having collected just three points from 24 on offer.

The 60-year-old subsequently suggested it could be his final managerial role due to the abuse he received during his two-year tenure.

"I think this might be my last job. It's not just about me, it's taken its toll on my whole family because they are all Geordies and I can't ignore that," Bruce told The Telegraph.

"By the time I got to Newcastle, I thought I could handle everything thrown at me but it has been very, very tough.

"To never really be wanted, to feel that people wanted me to fail, to read people constantly saying I would fail, that I was useless, a fat waste of space, a stupid, tactically inept cabbage head or whatever. And it was from day one."

Newcastle's Allan Saint-Maximin paid tribute to the 'gentle' and 'caring' Bruce, and Manchester City boss Guardiola believes that the winger's social media post epitomised the respect warranted by the ex-Manchester United defender, who took charge of his 1,000th game as a manager in Sunday's defeat by Tottenham.

Addressing the media ahead of City's trip to Brighton and Hove Albion, Guardiola said: "I read the post on Twitter and Instagram from Saint-Maximin.

"This is, for me, what Steve Bruce is – [he is] an exceptional gentleman. He always took care of me so nicely when I came here from Catalonia. I wish him all the best. 

"I'll tell him 'don't pay much attention to the comments because it is bull****.'

"Steve Bruce and all other managers want to do the best; sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. He does not have to worry. I'm pretty sure all the people in Newcastle – the board and especially the players – know exactly what Steve is."

It was a sentiment echoed by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who told a news conference: "Is it social media? Don't read it, don't watch it, especially not in average or bad periods. That's the best advice you can give to every manager in the world.

"I'm really sorry for Steve Bruce if that happened. I think the most important skill in modern football for a manager is to not let criticism get too close to you or just ignore it. That's what I do."

Rafael Benitez preceded Bruce at St James' Park, and was a popular figure with the club's fanbase. The current Everton boss has ruled himself out of contention to take over at Newcastle, however.

Asked if such harsh criticism could possibly lead potential managers to stay away from coaching, Benitez said: "Not for me at Newcastle or here at Everton. You have to accept that in football if you win, everything is fine, if you lose, you can lose your job.

"This is the situation for many years, in a lot of countries.

"My relationship with the Newcastle fans is fantastic, my relationship with the people in the city was very good so I have good memories. At the same time, I do not want to see any manager lose his job, that is the only thing I can say."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.