Newcastle United suffered a damaging 1-0 defeat away at rock bottom Sheffield United on Tuesday evening, with the Magpies having produced arguably their worst performance of the campaign.

Steve Bruce went into the game under increasing pressure following a dire run of six games without a win in all competitions and just four goals scored during that period. If ever a game was needed for them to show some attacking intent it was this one – instead, they delivered the opposite.

The Magpies looked in trouble from the moment the team-sheet was delivered, with Bruce sticking with the 5-4-1 setup and opting for the conservative options of Jeff Hendrick, Isaac Hayden and Sean Longstaff in midfield, leaving only Ryan Fraser and Callum Wilson as genuine attacking threats.

In the end, Fraser was sent off for two silly fouls which both earned yellow cards. That made the task very difficult for the Magpies, but even before that Sheffield United had taken complete control of the game in defiance of their form throughout the season so far.

The defeat leave Newcastle still eight points clear of the drop zone, but Fulham have two games in hand and are unbeaten in their last four matches in the division (premierleague.com). The stats that were being displayed earlier on in the campaign are now catching up with Bruce’s side.

Despite the defeat, Bruce is thought not to be under any real pressure in terms of his job unless Newcastle drop into the bottom three. However, many fans have irrevocably turned on him, and if things do not pick up soon, a real relegation fight could be on the cards.

Here is how we rated Newcastle players from the defeat at Sheffield United in what was a difficult evening for everyone in the visitors’ squad…

Should Steve Bruce go after this latest defeat?

Yes

No