Steve Bruce warned his players that their level of performance at Bramall was unacceptable - then turned the air blue to express his frustration.

But Bruce came out fighting in a week in which supporters have called for him to vacate his position and insisted he would not crumble despite the intensity of social media at the moment after no wins in any competition in over a month.

United head to Arsenal on Monday night with the odds stacked against them and the distinct possibility of sinking closer to the relegation scrap.

Yet Bruce did not make any excuses about the performance against the Blades and was open and honest when asked about the vicious remarks that followed the narrow defeat.

Bruce told the Chronicle: "The manner was nowhere near good enough - and I have to accept we were absolutely *****."

In response to what has been said on social media, Bruce said: "I have a tough enough job as it is.

"I don't do social media for obvious reasons, I totally get it, we can give people and supporters something to shout about.

"And the other night we were nowhere near what was required.

"It has probably made people worse with Covid.

"People sitting in front of their telly or their laptop or wherever they watch it.

"They were thinking: 'That was the biggest pile of ***** I have seen and I can't disagree with them."

Bruce played down his own playing career but says his battling spirit got him through in life and he has shown the same as a manager during a long career in the dugout.

He said: "All I can say that I have made a career of not being blessed with much ability, I wasn't the biggest as a player, had no left foot and no real pace, I captained the biggest club in the world for five years.

"In management, I have been going 20 years of getting stuck into when it's tough.

"That's when you find out what your players are made of, and certainly my view is to never give up on it and I couldn't wait to get back to work and back on the training ground again to try to put it right.

"I want to give the supporters something to shout about in these tough times."

The Toon boss also had an answer to the "Bruce out" brigade after a bedsheet was unfurled outside St James' Park on Tuesday night soon after the final whistle.

Bruce added: "For those who think I'm going to walk away - I ain't.

"I never will walk away from a challenge.

"For those who think I am not good enough to manage Newcastle, some of them have said it from day one.

"I have been in there and nearly managed 500 games at this level and if you look at the teams that I have managed in this league I have managed to do OK, down the road (Sunderland), Wigan, Birmingham and Hull.

"I've given them the highest finishes they have ever had.

"I am never going to be everybody's cup of tea which I have said repeatedly, the one thing I will never do is give in, and I will have a team that eventually mirrors what I am looking for.

"That is the aim as long as I sit here."