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Newcastle United striker says Steve Bruce tactics need to change

4 weeks ago
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Steve Bruce has found himself under instant pressure, with two defeats to start the season.

Up against a much weakened Arsenal team and makeshift defence, Newcastle didn’t force their keeper into a serious save.

Whilst in the debacle at Norwich on Saturday it was more of the same, not a save needing to be made in the 90 minutes by the home goalkeeper. Only with the game already won did the Canaries switch off and Jonjo Shelvey took advantage with a well taken goal in the final seconds of added time.

Obviously there has been a massive negative reaction to Saturday’s match but at the heart of it has been the performance, much more than the result. Newcastle were actually very lucky to only lose 3-1 with Martin Dubravka Newcastle’s best player as he made a series of excellent saves.

The defending was abysmal but the attacking play was just as depressing.

Yoshinori Muto replaced the injured Joelinton on 67 minutes and he said he knew for certain he was in for a tough time.

The Japanese striker said that after watching from the bench the Brazilian playing in not so splendid isolation, he knew what was to come.

The midfield were usually a  country mile behind play and with seemingly no real plan as to how Miguel Almiron was supposed to be connecting  with the main striker, it was a lost cause.

Yoshinori Muto says about those final 23 minutes: ‘I felt isolated and I was always surrounded by three or four opponents. As a forward that was very tough.’

The contrast with Norwich was obvious, the home side swarmed forward as a team in support of main striker Pukki.

The lack of mobility in the Newcastle side, particularly in midfield, was embarrassing. Whilst the possession stats showed Newcastle(37%) had even less against Norwich than they had against Arsenal.

Steve Bruce promised that his Newcastle team would always be playing on the front foot this season but those words have looked empty so far. The Newcastle midfield were so deep on Saturday that they were standing on the toes of the defence most of the time.

The Head Coach has failed dismally so far when judged on discipline and tactics, total chaos contributing to Arsenal’s winner when he made substitutions in the opening game, whilst against Norwich it was amateurish from the first whistle and the players looked anything but up to it, in terms of responding to Bruce’s tactics/formation.

As for Yoshinori Muto, he has now played 539 Premier League minutes so far and scored only one goal for Newcastle, so can he play a part?

Well, playing a lone striking role looks a very poor idea to me, at least with this less than mobile NUFC line up.

However, I thought last season that there was no reason why Muto couldn’t potentially thrive in that 3-4-3 that Rafa made so effective in the final months of last season.

Steve Bruce needs to drop this idea of three central midfielders that isn’t helping defence or attack.

I think with Almiron and Muto supporting Joelinton in a front three, it can only improve the situation. Both Almiron and Muto are quick and willing to track back as well as go forward, so I can’t see it harming the defensive side of things.

Alternatively of course, if/once Allan Saint-Maximin is fully fit then I would have him on the right side of the attacking trio with Muto as cover.

What is for sure is that on early evidence Steve Bruce’s tactics/formation aren’t looking the answer, so will he make the change at Tottenham?

Yoshinori Muto speaking to the Chronicle:

“It was really hard (when replacing Joelinton at Norwich).

“I felt isolated and I was always surrounded by three or four opponents.

“As a forward that was very tough.

“As a team we struggled overall.

“When I was watching in the first half, I was expecting it to be difficult when I came on because Joelinton was struggling as well.

Pukki got a hat-trick and he reacted well on the counter attack.

“It is the sort of image that I would like to provide for my team.

“I would like to change things.

“We want to change the situation after two defeats.

“We have to train harder.

“I hope that my individual play will be very important this season.”

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