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Steve Bruce says Newcastle United developing a threat to other clubs could take months

3 weeks ago
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After replacing Rafa Benitez, Steve Bruce promised Newcastle United fans they could now look forward to more attacking and entertaining football.

The new Head Coach making clear this would be a move away from what much of the media criticised as supposedly negative tactics from Rafa Benitez. Even though in his final 13 games at Newcastle, Rafa’s team scored 21 goals, once Miguel Almiron gave them some additional attacking threat.

Steve Bruce at press conferences repeatedly saying that his team would be ‘playing on the front foot’ in the Premier League.

What fans have actually seen are possession stats for NUFC of 38% (v Arsenal), 37% (v Norwich), 20% (v Spurs), 32% (v Leicester) and 49% (v Watford).

Reflecting on where Newcastle United are after his first month of football, Steve Bruce appears to have had a somewhat change of mind and/or willingness to now say what the actual truth is.

Bruce states: ‘The one area we are going to have to put a lot of work into is in defence.¬† Our defensive organisation has to be spot on, to give yourself any type of platform.’

Explaining his reasons for the team having to focus so much more on defending than attacking (which has been the case in every game so far), the NUFC Head Coach says: ‘The next step, which will take weeks and months, is the hardest one, it is creativity and that little bit of something that will cause a threat to other teams. There’s no excuses, we have to defend first.’

So Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce saying that Newcastle United were now going on the attack, unlike boring old Rafa Benitez, wasn’t exactly close to the truth.

Rafa was simply honest, he said that without proper investment in the squad he had no option but to try and make Newcastle defensively sound and then judge how attacking his team could be judged on the circumstances of each match.

After telling us all how brilliant the summer recruitment had been, it appears to me that Steve Bruce is now backtracking. Newcastle lost their two goalscorers and responded by bringing in a 22 year old who likes to do his best work outside the box and who has a career best of eight goals in a season in Austria, as well as permanently injured/unfit Andy Carroll who arrived injured/unfit and who no sane person can be relying on seeing him regularly on the pitch, never mind scoring  goals.

Joelinton looks a decent player but for a squad so woefully short of goals, he was never going to be able to do it all himself.

Steve Bruce talking to the Chronicle:

“The one area we are going to have to put a lot of work into is in defence.

“Our defensive organisation has to be spot on, to give yourself any type of platform.

“I think we had Leicester, Tottenham and Arsenal in the space of a week recently and they managed five shots on target against us – so that is a positive thing.

“We will have to keep it to that and make sure those standards stay high.

“The next step, which will take weeks and months, is the hardest one, it is creativity and that little bit of something that will cause a threat to other teams.

“There’s no excuses, we have to defend first, and I think we can be satisfied of our last month’s work.

“Take away the Norwich debacle since we walked through the door in the last six or seven weeks and we can be satisfied.

“Whether it has been three at the back or five at the back we have worked tirelessly on it.”

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