Steve Bruce hopes Newcastle’s victory over Manchester United “is the turning point” as his side moved out of the Premier League relegation zone and continued his former club’s troublesome season.
Matty Longstaff, 19, capped an impressive top-flight debut with the winning goal, drilling home a low finish from outside the box to leave the Red Devils just two points above the bottom three and with two wins this season.
Longstaff, playing in midfield alongside brother Sean, could have scored in the first half but rattled the crossbar with a thunderous 25-yard drive, while Fabian Schar flicked a header narrowly over from a corner.
On his 400th game in charge in the Premier League, the result ended Bruce’s long wait for a win over Manchester United, with whom he won three top-flight titles as a player.
Bruce said: “All you can do is answer your critics by getting a result. We knew this run was going to be difficult. I hope this is the turning point.
“I have waited something like 20 years for a result against United.
“To beat a club of Manchester United’s size is always a special thing. Considering the start we’ve had and the teams we’ve played, eight points – we’ll accept it.”
Bruce was unhappy that his team had been leaked in the newspapers before the game, adding: “I know I am not going to be everyone’s cup of tea but the nonsense that flies around is insulting. Hopefully this helps the cause.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side looked bereft of ideas in front of goal: Andreas Pereira’s curling strike was comfortable for Martin Dubravka, while Harry Maguire nodded a free header wide from four yards.
The visitors’ tally of nine points after eight games is their lowest since the 1989-90 season, when they were a point worse off.
These two Uniteds had some tremendous title tussles during the 1990s, but the situation is much different these days with both sets of fans deeply unhappy with their respective owners.
Though big money was spent in the summer – Newcastle signing striker Joelinton for a club record £40m and their opponents bringing in defender Maguire for £80m – both face the prospect of a difficult season.
The Magpies are fighting to remain in the top flight and while the Red Devils are attempting to claim a European place, they find themselves in 12th place in the table.
They last won away from home in the league in February and extended that run to eight games with another lifeless and uninspiring showing.
Their defence has improved from last term, conceding eight times so far which is the third-best record in the division, but it is in attack where the major problems lie.
Solskjaer’s men failed to get a single shot on target against AZ Alkmaar in the Europa League on Thursday and again struggled to carve out clear-cut chances in the final third, the best opportunity falling to Maguire, who should have converted his close-range header in the first half.
Playmaker Juan Mata contributed little, while in attack Marcus Rashford received no service in a side that has not scored more than one goal in a game since hitting four against Chelsea on the opening weekend.