June 26 (Reuters) - Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce says he is preparing his side to withstand a backlash from Manchester City when they host Pep Guardiola’s men in the FA Cup quarter-final on Sunday.
Man City’s 2-1 defeat by Chelsea on Thursday brought an end to their title defence, with Liverpool claiming their first top-flight crown in 30 years after taking an insurmountable 23-point lead at the top of the standings with seven games to play.
Bruce, whose Newcastle side held City to a 2-2 draw in a Premier League clash earlier this season, said he is expecting a strong response from Guardiola’s side.
“The one thing they have been over the years now is serial winners, whether it’s the FA Cup or the League Cup, they’re a very, very good side,” Bruce, 59, told reporters in a virtual news conference ahead of Sunday’s clash.
“They’ll treat the cups, I’m sure now, as something to look forward to. They’ve got the Champions League and of course they’ve got the FA Cup, which they’ll, I’m sure, put their attention to.”
Newcastle have picked up 10 points from their last four games and Bruce attributes his side’s resurgence to a tactical tweak.
“When we changed formation, I think that was the right moment. We had Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin playing too deep which helped the team but we were becoming less of a threat. The change has allowed us to be more of a threat,” he added.
Bruce confirmed Newcastle had offered midfielder Matthew Longstaff a long-term deal and that the ball was now in his court.
Longstaff on Thursday agreed a contract extension until the end of the season having previously turned down a long-term offer.
“I think we’ve made him a wonderful offer. Of course we would all love him to stay... We’ve done everything we possibly can. The rest is up to Matty, it’s for him to decide,” Bruce added. (Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru Editing by Christian Radnedge)