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Steve Bruce ended on the wrong end of a 1-0 scoreline on the last occasion he brought a team to Burnley and he got the same result today on his first visit as Newcastle United manager although his finger was very firmly pointing at referee Tim Robinson after the game.

He said: “We knew it was going to be difficult on an awful afternoon and the one thing we wanted since Tuesday, we understood who the referee was and we needed him on his debut, we hope it doesn’t come down to a refereeing decision.

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“People make mistakes, I understand that, and I’m never one to criticise referees but the crucial goal is a free kick to us and then we don’t get beat today and these margins in the Premier League at the elite level. I thought the referee, in his first game in charge today, found it a struggle and the big decision, unfortunately, he’s got wrong.”

He added: “They (Burnley) are dangerous, they put it under your bar, they play for set pieces. I thought we coped with them magnificently well throughout the game and everything they threw at us. We’ve one or two big chances ourselves.

“Look, to be fair, there’s nothing in the game and if you go away with a 0-0, you take it and that’s what it looked like on an awful afternoon. When the big decisions go against you and a big mistake by the referee, you hope in this day and age that that’s supposed to have gone away. I think he struggled to get Burnley v Newcastle as his first game, a big confrontational battle going on and all sorts, it was difficult for him. I just thought he struggled from it for the whole thing.”

Newcastle had just a bit more possession than us and he said of that: “People talk about possession. It’s all about the attempts on goal and we’ve had two big, big chances in the game, that’s all really, a bit similar to them. Andy (Carroll) has had one in the first ten or fifteen minutes and of course Dwight (Gayle) comes on and you expect the net to be bulging but not to be.

“It’s the worst conditions, a swirling wind, sleet and snow, rain, you name it so we knew what it was. I have to say the players rolled up their sleeves and basically gave it everything they’ve got and rightly so they are disappointed and all we are talking about is the referee. That shouldn’t be the case at this level and in the Premier League however difficult it is.”

Sean Dyche wanted to put the three recent defeats behind us and this 1-0 win has done that. “We wanted a reaction to the defeat at Tottenham last week, when we weren’t ourselves,” he said. “The first thing was the performance, but you also want the win and we’ve just about edged that, I feel.

“We’ve had a one v one and knocked on the door a few times. I was pleased with the performance actually because they are a tough side. Steve has got them organised and they are solid, so to get the win was very pleasing.”

He too had questions about the referee and, while agreeing with Bruce on the corner that led to the goal, one other decision in particular. He said: “It looks an unlucky one for Steve with the decision for the corner, but the problem with the game now is that they get given all the time, when they are probably not fouls. I was a defender and their lad is shielding it out and I don’t think it is a foul, or at the very least it’s a soft one, but they do get given, so I do understand Steve being a bit fed up with it, but equally I thought they were lucky to have eleven on the pitch.

“There is an elbow on Ben Mee that nowadays has to go. Not that I want players to be sent off, and nor was there any malice in the challenge, but it’s a loose one and the way the game is now, if you put elbows in faces, it’s a red card.”

Three of the injured players were able to return with Phil Bardsley back at right back, Ashley Westwood in midfield and Ashley Barnes partnering Chris Wood up front. “The players coming back did make a difference,” Dyche said. “I’m not doing the other players down because we have a good and competitive squad this year. We don’t carry big numbers so when you carry a few injuries it does look a bit thin, all of a sudden, but there was a reaction to them coming back and it’s a great three points.

“People say we’ve been on a bad run, but wait a minute; I’ll show you a bad run and that was last season. When you have 21 points at this stage of the season, I don’t think that’s a particularly bad run.

“Indifferent, maybe, but we’re not the real deal and we have to fight for everything we get. But I think we are moving forwards and it’s about small increments here. We don’t throw money at it to try and solve everything overnight. but the players are maturing and continue to do so in this league.

“It was a tight, awkward game today, but we have done the right things and come out on top.”

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