Newcastle boss Steve Bruce says criticism of him has been “personal from day one” but he “won’t give in”.
Fans have called for his resignation after defeat by the Premier League’s bottom club Sheffield United, meaning the Magpies are winless in eight games.
Bruce, 60, said the first half was “absolutely hopeless” and admitted: “I picked the wrong team” after choosing a defensive line-up against the Blades.
“I’ve made a career of never giving in so I won’t [now],” said Bruce.
“I will keep trying to do my utmost to make this better.
“[The criticism] has been personal from day one – certain people out there think I shouldn’t have been in the job to start with. All I can do is accept it and try not to be too down with it.”
Newcastle have not won in six Premier League games, and have slipped to 15th in the table, seven points above the relegation zone before their trip to Arsenal on Monday.
But it is also the manner of Newcastle’s performances that have upset some of the fan base. This week the Newcastle United Supporters’ Trust told the club it was “sleepwalking to relegation”.
Bruce accepted his team were in a relegation battle, and said the performance against Sheffield United and the EFL Cup quarter-final defeat by Championship side Brentford were “hand grenade” displays, which his side produced too often.
He also suggested his team had struggled without winger Allan Saint-Maximin, who has been suffering from the effects of coronavirus for seven weeks but could return to training this week.
“I understand the supporters’ frustration and anger – I would be the same way,” added Bruce, who was appointed in July 2019.
“But I keep stressing if you’re in the bottom half of the Premier League, you have to be a bit pragmatic. Now, getting that balance right, I fully, fully understand.
“Have Newcastle been a good watch for years? We’ve been in the bottom half of the Premier League. Now we’re not saying it’s acceptable, but it’s the way it is. So we have to have a certain way of defending well, but I agree we have to offer more going forward.
“I expect the players to mirror myself a little bit. I was never blessed with wonderful ability, same as management, but the one thing I expect is a reaction, show some pride in yourself, and never be afraid of hard work. At the minute, it’s hard work, but you try not to get too down.
“We are not alone, if you’re in bottom half there will be times when you come under pressure, and this is one of those times.”