There is reportedly trouble behind the scenes at Newcastle.
Ritchie was reportedly angry with his manager after Bruce accused him of failing to pass on tactical instructions to his teammates during Newcastle’s 1-1 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday night.
There was confusion amongst the team and Wolves capitalised and equalised.
🗣"We should stop the cross, it was a frustration, we will have to concede that one"
Newcastle boss Steve Bruce clears up the confusion during Matt Ritchie's substitution right before they conceded the equaliser pic.twitter.com/t8ykDjBugi
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) February 27, 2021
Newcastle: Steve Bruce and Matt Ritchie bust-up.
According to The Daily Mail and The Times, Ritchie was livid following Bruce’s comments and phoned him after the match to voice his frustration. Bruce told the player that he would speak to him at team training.
At Newcastle’s training ground two days later, Ritchie, 31, refused to go see Bruce in his office, and reportedly called him a “coward” and said he was “done” with him.
Bruce, 60, confronted the former Bournemouth winger. According to The Mail and The Times, the Newcastle manager “shoulder-barged” Ritchie.
The winger did not physically retaliate.
Relations between Steve Bruce and the Newcastle squad.
The former Sunderland manager also reportedly said to Ritchie: “After all I’ve done for you.” Bruce was seemingly referring to the three-year contract Ritchie signed last March.
The Scotland international is said to have replied: “You’ve done f*** all for me.” Bruce reportedly asked: “What are you going to do? Tell Lee Charnley?”
This is said to be a reference to Bruce’s suspicious that the Newcastle players have been informing Charnley, the club’s managing director, of their unhappiness.
Ritchie is said to have apologised to Bruce and the squad following the incident.
According to The Mail, relations between Bruce and many within the Newcastle squad is strained and there is a “feeling of growing resentment” towards the manager amongst many in the dressing room.
They are said to feel he is too quick to deflect blame.
Some Newcastle players were understood to be “disgusted” after news leaked that goalkeeper Karl Darlow was going to be dropped before the player was informed by his manager.
They reportedly believe Bruce was the source of the leak, something the Newcastle manager has denied.
Some Newcastle players reportedly want Graeme Jones to take over.
Meanwhile, some players reportedly “openly laughed” in their WhatsApp groups at some of Bruce’s comments in the media – particularly his assertion that he was going to do things “his way” 18 months into the job.
Several Newcastle players reportedly want Graeme Jones, the club’s new assistant manager, to take charge of the team until the end of the season.
"He hasn't told Jacob Murphy anything."
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) March 1, 2021
Newcastle have won just twice from their last 17 games and will fall into the bottom three on Thursday night if Fulham beat Tottenham Hotspur.
Bruce has been Newcastle manager since the summer of 2019 but has not been a popular figure with many supporters of the club.
The Magpies finished 13th under him in the Premier League last season.