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Bruce defuses Ritchie row, vows to find the Newcastle leak

Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce has drawn a line under this week’s training ground dispute with midfielder Matt Ritchie, saying the situation has been blown out of proportion.

The Daily Mail reported that the pair had clashed this week, with Ritchie having been unhappy at the way he was blamed for a breakdown in communication that led to Wolverhampton Wanderers’ equaliser in last weekend’s 1-1 Premier League draw.

Ritchie has since apologised for his role in the incident, and Bruce said the matter is now resolved.

“Look, there’s no denying that I’ve had a row with Matt Ritchie, but let me tell you that happens up and down training grounds every other week,” Bruce told a news conference ahead of Sunday’s trip to West Bromwich Albion.

“You’re dealing with 25 men, emotions run high, fiercely competitive – these things happen unfortunately, and unfortunately for us with Newcastle, of course it gets blown to all sort of proportions.

Prior to last weekend’s game with Wolves, it was reported that Bruce had been responsible for leaking Karl Darlow’s demotion in the media before the goalkeeper was told he was being dropped for Martin Dubravka. He has denied it.

“If I thought I would do that, I would resign tomorrow. It’s simply not true,” Bruce said.

“It’s unfair on Karl, and over the last 18 months, that’s arguably been the most difficult decision I’ve had to make.”

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