Magpies midfielder Matt Ritchie apologized to Bruce in midweek following a training ground bust-up between the pair. Bruce, during a fractious news conference on Friday, then denied reports the players were unhappy with the team’s training schedule and pledged to find the person responsible for leaking details about the club to the press.

He also went to the Hawthorns without his three first-choice attacking players but saw his side earn a battling point that lifts them above Brighton into 16th and briefly put them four points clear of the relegation zone, before Fulham’s victory at Liverpool reduced the deficit to one.

“I was delighted with their attitude and spirit,” Bruce told BBC Match of the Day. “We showed a real desire to get something out of the game. In terms of the problems we have had, in terms of injuries, not rows, it was important.” We have been hamstrung a bit with [injuries to] big players at the top end of the pitch. For their effort and attitude, I could not ask for anything more. “With Newcastle, things seem to get blown out of proportion. Rows happen every other day at every other club up and down the country.”

The Magpies had the better opportunities in a game lacking attacking fluency, but West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone was alert to deny Jonjo Shelvey and Joe Willock either side of half-time.

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