Steve Bruce “I want to try and take the club forward and the sickness in me has enjoyed it”
Ahead of facing Liverpool, Steve Bruce says he always knew his start to life at St James Park was going to be difficult.
Coming in after Rafa Benitez, the NUFC Head Coach says that he had to ‘calm the storm’ and the only way to do it was by winning matches.
Now five games into the season and one win, three defeats and a draw later, a trip to Anfield awaits.
Steve Bruce predictably puts a positive spin on the results. Obviously Spurs was an excellent result but he claims: ‘We played very well against Leicester, lost on penalties…and did OK against Watford.’
Newcastle didn’t play ‘very well’ against Leicester, they did ok after Steve Bruce played almost an entire second eleven, leaving out all the first choice attacking players to keep them for the Watford match. As for that game it was really poor, apart from a 10-15 minute spell in the middle of the second half.
Bottom line is that a month into the season, Newcastle have won one of five games and yet again have exited the League Cup at the first hurdle playing a much weakened team.
What I don’t disagree with is when Steve Bruce says that on top of the total mess and chaos at St James Park, Newcastle were given a very difficult opening schedule of games.
He points out that in the first nine games Newcastle face five of the ‘big six’ (apart from Man City).
However, in the opening 11 games, it is actually eight of the clubs that finished top half last season.
Leicester, Wolves and West Ham have all spent more money than Newcastle yet again and will prove tough games as well as those against the top six.
In these first 11 games you would have picked out Norwich away and Watford & Brighton at home as the big ones to target for points. It is these type of games where Newcastle’s season will be decided, not at games such as Anfield on Saturday.
Before the next international break you have Leicester away and Man Utd at home, which will take us to eight games played,, with then Chelsea away after those October internationals.
Steve Bruce says ‘I’ve enjoyed the stick and I’ve enjoyed the challenge. The more it piles on, the more I seem to enjoy.’
You have to feel that a far better performance is needed against Brighton than in the Norwich and Watford games, or else the Head Coach might find the supposed enjoyment he is getting from ‘the stick’ will be more pain than pleasure.
Steve Bruce talking to the Chronicle:
“I knew early on it was going to be difficult.
“I always knew that the start we had is equally more difficult.
“To calm the storm that everybody was riding at the time, getting a few results was the only way really.
“When I looked at the first five games, we’ve got three of the top six. We have got most of the top six in the first nine so I knew it was going to be difficult.
“Can we go and get a couple more results?
“That’s got to be the aim and the only thing I’m really focused on and concentrating on because that’s the only thing I can affect.
“The only thing I can affect is on the training ground and making sure that they’re ready and capable and, of course, the result at Tottenham gave everyone a lift.
“We had a good week.
“We played very well against Leicester, lost on penalties…and did OK against Watford.
“It’s a big occasion at the weekend coming up but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.
“I only want what’s best for the club.
“I want to try and take the club forward and the sickness in me has enjoyed it.
“I’ve enjoyed the stick and I’ve enjoyed the challenge.
“The more it piles on, the more I seem to enjoy.
“I hope it wanes a little bit but, in time, a few results will help.”
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