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Captain Lascelles tells Newcastle to forget Benitez, back Bruce

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Captain Jamaal Lascelles said that Newcastle United must move on from the Rafael Benitez era and warned the players need to adapt swiftly to new coach Steve Bruce.

Bruce was named a successor to the popular Benitez on Wednesday but the appointment has gone down badly with Newcastle fans and some are threatening a boycott.

Bruce, a former manager of fierce rivals Sunderland, has just over three weeks before the season begins to get his message across and bring in badly needed signings.

The 58-year-old is expected to take charge for Saturday's friendly against West Ham United in Shanghai in the Premier League Asia Trophy.

Newcastle fans are furious that hated owner Mike Ashley failed to persuade Benitez to remain at the club, but Lascelles said: "That happened and people got upset.

"But that's gone now, you can't control that, you need to look forward, we've got a great manager coming in and we need to remain positive."

Speaking after Newcastle were thumped 4-0 by Wolves on Wednesday in Nanjing, and hours after Bruce was made head coach, Lascelles admitted it had been a difficult summer with the club making headlines for the wrong reasons.

As well as losing Benitez, who has moved to Chinese football with Dalian Yifang, success-starved Newcastle supporters have seen the club lose key forwards Ayoze Perez and Salomon Rondon.

The club remains in limbo with Ashley apparently wishing to sell but failing to do so, triggering threats from supporters to stage a boycott at St James' Park.

"It is frustrating because it's always 'Newcastle this, Newcastle that', it's never positive," said defender Lascelles, 25.

"We are always highlighted for something or we're not doing something right.

"As players we try to ignore all that and try to work hard and do the right things, that is all we can do, we can't control anything else."

Newcastle, who have yet to make a major signing this summer and are particularly light in attack, are among the relegation favourites this season.

They begin their Premier League campaign home to Arsenal on August 11, heralding what promises to be another turbulent year on and off the pitch.

Bruce's unremarkable managerial record in the Premier League and his time as Sunderland boss in 2009-2011 are the major reasons for fans' antipathy towards him.

But he is a lifelong supporter, and Lascelles, one of the few Newcastle players to emerge with credit among fans in recent years, said that he was pleased that the uncertainty was over.

"It's going to be a new challenge, a whole new formation, tactics and instructions to what we've been used to the last few years," he said.

"We need to adapt quickly because the Arsenal game is round the corner."


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