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Steve Bruce sees a ‘lot of positives’ after losing to Preston

1 year ago
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Steve Bruce was standing on the touchline for the first time.

Two weeks ahead of the Premier League kicking off, he watched on as his team went in at the break a goal up, Jonjo Shelvey getting  a decent 30 yard free-kick on target but the goalkeeper making a real mess of it as the ball went through his hands in the middle of the goal.

The second half was then a game of penalties, Newcastle missing one and Preston scoring two.

Miguel Almiron seeing his average penalty turned away by the Preston keeper just after half-time when  Joelinton had been tripped.

Two penalties within 10 minutes in the middle of the second half settled it, Sterry handling and then Joelinton giving a penalty away with a foul, Gallagher scoring both spot-kicks for the home side.

Steve Bruce insisted after the final whistle ‘I thought there were a lot of positives’, whilst for the 1,359 (a thousand less than travelled to Preston almost exactly two years ago for a 1-1 draw) in the away end, the fact rain eventually stopped was probably the biggest positive.

Results are never the be all and end all in friendlies so defeat alone isn’t that big a deal…but when you struggle to create all but a couple of decent chances and your only goal is a fortunate long-range free-kick, it just adds further worry to Newcastle fans who knew their team was desperate for more flair and goals after a disastrous summer.

Joelinton did ok but even Steve Bruce conceded: ‘He is not a typical Brazilian with silky skills but will be an effective number nine.’ To be an effective number nine you need the service and Newcastle are badly in need of better quality options to provide that. I think both Almiron and Joelinton are decent players but on both sides of the pitch it is clear there is a need for new signings and as for the middle of the pitch, the sight of Jack Colback being involved this season doesn’t give me a good feeling.

The past week had seen Southampton stroll to a 3-1 win at Deepdale last Saturday and then Accrington Stanley visited on Tuesday and played out a 1-1 draw. Hopefully this result and performance will be relayed back to Mike Ashley and with only 11 days until the transfer window closes, tell him that making one headline attracting signing is nowhere near enough what is needed.

Steve Bruce:

“I thought there were a lot of positives. 

“If we had scored the penalty it could have been an easy afternoon.

“Awful conditions and I don’t think I have played a game in the middle of July like this, the pitch wasn’t far off being waterlogged.

“I think he (Joelinton) will be a big hit.

“Full of life and energy, he plays with his heart on his sleeve.

“He is not a typical Brazilian with silky skills but will be an effective number nine.”

Preston 2 Newcastle 1

This is who Steve Bruce started with:

Woodman, Manquillo, Fernandez, Schar, Dummett, Ritchie, Hayden, Shelvey, (M) Longstaff, Aarons, Muto

With then nine changes made at half-time, only Woodman and Fernandez staying on, this side kicked off the second half:

Woodman, Sterry, Fernandez, Lascelles, Clark, S. Longstaff, Ki, Colback, Murphy, Almirón, Joelinton

Referee: M Salisbury

Attendance: 4,982 (1,359 Newcastle United fans)

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