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Opinion

Steve Bruce worrying contrasting statements – Already points to Newcastle United too much for him?

1 month ago
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Steve Bruce was appointed 33 days ago by Newcastle United.

Fair to say Newcastle fans were underwhelmed, to say the least, at the choice of who would replace Rafa Benitez.

A decision that looked very much a return to having somebody in place who was desperate enough to be 100% willing to agree to any conditions Mike Ashley attached to the job, just as we had seen before Rafa when the likes of Alan Pardew, John Carver and Steve McClaren had been in place.

Any faint doubts were swept away when Ashley insisted that Steve Bruce had to accept the title of head coach rather than manager.

As well as a willingness to accept the Ashley way of doing things, Newcastle fans were also understandably worried about the most obvious thing of all, how could Steve Bruce deal with the job when his whole profile/CV said the NUFC job would be too much for him, it having all the hallmarks of when McClaren got the job. No other Premier League club would have employed Steve McClaren back in 2015 and the same in 2019 with Steve Bruce.

When things started badly for Steve McClaren he declared ‘judge me after 10 games’ but then as he continued to flounder, he kept moving the goal posts, as he won only one of the first 11, two of the first 14, four of the first 21, six of the first 28 before he was very belatedly fired.

McClaren had eventually claimed he had to have a full season before he was judged;

“I am not saying judge me after 10, 11, 12 games or whatever. I guess I would say if you are going to throw things at me, judge me at the end of the season.”

Before the Norwich game, Steve Bruce was keen to point out that Rafa Benitez didn’t win any of the opening 10 Premier League matches last season:

“I don’t think I’m going to be entitled to that but 10/11 games was afforded (to Rafa Benitez) and there wasn’t a murmur from the crowd.

“I don’t think I’ll be afforded that luxury so I would like to win tomorrow if I possibly can then a nice easy one at Tottenham next week…”

Newcastle of course didn’t win at Norwich and instead put in an embarrassing performance, completely dominated all over the pitch against a promoted club with many injuries.

In the immediate aftermath of the defeat, Steve Bruce chose to big up Norwich and claim his players had given everything, only for things to not work out – just one of those days…:

“I can’t question anybody’s desire. I don’t think they went out there and done badly.

“We always knew Norwich were going to be difficult, they play a certain way and romped away with the Championship, so we were under no illusions this was going to be difficult.”

However, things quickly escalated, with the head coach then cancelling Sunday’s day off and ordering the players into training instead. Not a great sign after only two games, going public with the sergeant major approach as the answer.

Then Steve Bruce declaring:

“I can’t go onto the pitch with them but the one thing in management , that I have always tried to instil into my team is, yes we make mistakes, but I can’t forgive a performance where basically you don’t put your boots on.

“Unfortunately, it’s happened already, which is the second game in, but I’ll do all I can to make sure that changes.”

So going from ‘I can’t question anybody’s desire’ to cancelling the players’ day off and saying ‘I can’t forgive a performance where basically you don’t put your boots on.’

Rafa Benitez always protected his players and kept criticism private, for Steve Bruce to be doing this already is worrying to say the least.

So many players were keen in pre-season to talk up life under Steve Bruce and to compare it favourably with Rafa Benitez, especially how hard he had them working and the training regime in general, then they put out that performance and Bruce is already calling them out for it…

It just shows yet again that talk is cheap, players can say pretty much whatever they want if they are playing well and getting results.

However, unless they quickly show that they are wanting to play for Steve Bruce, where would it leave Mike Ashley’s newly installed head coach?

The fans having grave doubts from the start as to whether he could do the job and if he hasn’t got the players giving it everything, what chance does he have?

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