STEVE BRUCE will hold crisis talks with his Toon flops after Mike Ashley’s vote of confidence.
Newcastle’s players were given two days off following Saturday’s humiliating 3-0 defeat at Brighton.
But they return today and Bruce will demand a response after a wretched run of two wins in 20 games sees them just two points above the drop zone.
However the Daily Mail states that there are plans to give the squad more days off during the international break from Friday through to Monday.
A source told the news outlet: “The players are used to doing their own training by now. They are not surprised by the schedule.”
It is believed some stars thought Bruce WOULD be sacked – but owner Ashley refuses to axe him.
Midfielder Isaac Hayden could also miss the entire run-in after injuring his knee against the Seagulls.
He tweeted: “I’ll do my utmost to recover as quickly as I can.”
Centre-back Ciaran Clark has sensationally revealed that Newcastle “were not up for it” in their defeat against Brighton.
Speaking on Republic of Ireland duty, defender Clark said: “On Saturday night, we weren’t up for it as a group of players. For some reason, it didn’t work for us.
“That was the most disappointing thing, the way we were playing the weeks beforehand, we didn’t take into the game, such a big game as well.
“We knew ourselves as a group that was an opportunity there to pick up points and pull away a little bit, and we didn’t do that.
“Obviously, everyone was gutted after the game, and really frustrated.”
Before adding: “The international break has probably come at a good time for us now. We’ve time to get some injured players back.
“Hopefully, we can see out the remaining games with a fully-fit squad, probably bar Isaac Hayden.”
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