Bruce: Scheduling ‘ridiculous’

Bruce – who has ruled himself out of replacing Alan Pardew as Newcastle manager- believes the quality of the football is suffering because players are unable to maintain the same intensity with matches coming thick and fast.

He said: “Its ridiculous to ask players to play three or four games in a week.

“We saw the other day that the intensity goes out of the game, there are a lot of tired players and it increases the risk of them getting injuries.

“It also affects the spectacle – you cannot ask a footballer to play day in day out with the same intensity. You can see it in the statistics of how much they run. It is a ridiculous time of year and I hope we do change and catch up with rest of Europe.

“We should have a winter break or when players go to play in big tournaments in the summer, when they get there they are physically shattered because the Premier League is so demanding.

“I know it’s steeped in tradition that we play on Boxing Day but I do think to have two or three weeks off now would be the right way.”

Bruce’s side are only a point off the relegation zone and host Everton on New Years Day.

He added: “Everton, with the expectation from last year, have had a different season and I believe that’s down to the demands of Europe. And when you seem to be up against it their injury list is as long as ours, with key players missing.

“The one thing you want for the New Year – and I’m sure Roberto Martinez is the same – is to stay injury-free because it has been cruel over the last couple of months.”

Bruce, a boyhood Newcastle fan, said he was “flattered” to be linked with the position but is committed to Hull.

“We all know the industry, the one thing you don’t want to see is fellow managers being sacked but I understand the nature of the beast and some people in this city probably think its my time for my head to roll.

“Thankfully I have a chairman I am convinced will stick by me. One thing none of us need is distraction and we want to be fully focused on one thing – to get us out of trouble.”