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Steve Bruce has reaffirmed that he will not leave Newcastle United by his own choice, stressing that he will "never ever walk away from a challenge" as pressure continues to mount following poor form.
But with just two points taken from his last six games in charge - plus Carabao Cup and FA Cup exits to Brentford and Arsenal in recent weeks - the 60-year-old has come increasingly under fire from supporters.
Tuesday's defeat to Sheffield United - who had previously only mustered two draws across the entiretyof the current term - has only further enhanced calls for the ex-Birmingham City and Hull City boss to go.
But speaking afterwards atBramall Lane, Bruce underlined that he had no intention of walking out of his own volition, while accepting that he must bear some of the burden for the club's on-field misfortunes.
"I'll never ever walk away from a challenge," he toldSky Sports. "I've been in it long enough to have that respect, but I understand - especially watching the first half - we weren't good enough and I take the responsibility for that, because I picked the team.
"We've been trying something different because over the last few weeks we've struggled going forward, so my thoughts were to get Ryan, someone fresh, and Sean higher up the pitch where he could be a goal threat. Unfortunately that didn't happen.
"I think we've had, apart from the last month which we knew would be difficult with the run of fixtures we've had, we've given ourselves a decent start to the season."
Bruce was also left fuming at the VAR-assisted decision to hand Chris Wilder's hosts a penalty for a handball againstFederico Fernandez after originally electing to let play continue.
Billy Sharp subsequently converted from the spot to hand the Blades a first Premier League victory since July last year.