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Outrageous latest from Steve Bruce – Why are the newspapers letting him get away with it?

3 months ago
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With Steve Bruce, nothing ever seems to be his fault.

Quite often this season we have heard the NUFC blame Rafa Benitez.

Steve Bruce pointing to some kind of supposed poisoned chalice that has been passed on to him, in terms of how the team are capable of playing.

Other times he just blames the team/players.

Sometimes it is just good old fashioned bad luck.

Never his own shortcomings though.

After Sunday’s depressing performance against Wolves, it was a bit of everything.

Steve Bruce speaking after the 1-1 draw with Wolves on Sunday:

“The second half was very difficult to say the least, I think we just decided that we’d just defend, try to protect what we had, but we didn’t take care of the ball well enough.

“Is it a mentality thing? Possibly.

“But we have to try to change that mentality.

“We spoke about it at half-time, to win the second half.

“We just sat in…and sat in, looked to protect what we had.

“In the Premier League that’s always difficult, you’ve got to try to pose a threat yourself, like we did in the first half.

“In the second half, we just didn’t do enough.

‘For the last couple of years I don’t think it has been any different has it, since the club came out of the Championship.

“Probably the couple of years before that too.

“Our aim is to go higher of course but I was under no illusion that it was going to be difficult..”

Following on from those Steve Bruce comments, this is what the Chronicle (though similar has appeared in most newspapers) report today – Monday 28 October 2019:

‘The cycle of struggle that Steve Bruce is working hard to abolish behind the scenes at Newcastle United

The former Aston Villa and Hull boss feels his players are conditioned to parking the bus in the Premier League

It may not feel like it right now, but Newcastle United find themselves in significantly better shape in the Premier League than they were at the same stage last season.

There were pockets of boos following the 1-1 draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers and social media was a toxic place on Sunday night, but compared to this time 12 months ago, the Magpies are six points better off and have two more wins on the board.

After the game Steve Bruce suggested that his team had been conditioned to defending for too long under Rafa Benitez.’

Why do the journalists/newspapers keep let Steve Bruce get away with it?

Just because he says something, it doesn’t mean that it is true!!!

When you look at his quotes above, he is actually claiming that he told the team to go out on the attack in the second half BUT then they, the players, instead made the decision once they got on the pitch, to go all out defence.

Does anybody actually believe this, apart from seemingly most reporters?

We could all see what was happening and what was inevitable, Newcastle inviting Wolves to dominate and launch attack after attack, with only a question of time before they scored. Which of course they did after a series of near misses for NUFC, indeed Wolves should have gone on to win comfortably.

If Steve Bruce had indeed told his team to attack the second half, why weren’t he and/or his coaches out of the dugout reminding them of this?

Also, why not make any substitutions if things weren’t going to plan, bizarrely waiting until five minutes before the end of the 90?

Steve Bruce suggests that maybe it is a ‘mentality’ thing, these ultra-defensive performances. A massive negative passed on by Rafa Benitez.

Steve Bruce said he couldn’t have been happier with the summer transfer window business, so if that is the case why hasn’t he changed the ‘mentality’ after making what he claimed to be five signings of his choosing?

Also, some three and a half months of training/coaching the players, why are things getting worse not better, in terms of the ‘mentality’, the negative set-up.

In these last four games, Newcastle have had a total of four shots on target. All of the stats show NUFC to be by far the most negative team and least likely to create chances and score goals.

Indeed, the ‘Expected Goals’ metric has Newcastle easily rock bottom of the Premier League based on stats relating to overall attacking play of the 20 clubs. Newcastle are very very lucky to be outside the relegation zone, they haven’t deserved anything from the three home draws against Watford, Wolves and Brighton. Whilst the wins over Man Utd and Spurs relied on scoring with one of only two shots on goal in each game AND keeping a clean sheet.

Steve Bruce wants us to believe he is helpless in the face of what he has inherited from Rafa Benitez and it simply isn’t true.

In two of these four games (Leicester and Chelsea), Newcastle didn’t have a single corner or shot on target, I’m pretty sure that this NEVER happened under Rafa, any game where we had neither a corner or an effort on target.

This table shows the form of the final 16 Rafa Benitez games, before passing this supposed poisoned chalice on to Steve Bruce, Newcastle with the FIFTH BEST form in the Premier League…

premier league form table 2018/19 from match week 23

Even the extended form from last season, from the final 28 PL games of the 2018/19 season has Newcastle with the eighth best form:

premier league form table 2018/19 from match week 11

Steve Bruce did not take over a failing team that can only play ultra-negative football it is he (Steve Bruce) who is failing.

Allowed by most of the journalists/newspapers to come out with unchallenged nonsense.

Here are the stats from Newcastle’s final 16 Premier League games of last season via BBC Sport:

Newcastle 3 Cardiff 0

Possession 54% Shots 16 On Target 6 Corners 7

Newcastle 2 Man City 1

Possession 24% Shots 7 On Target 2 Corners 1

Tottenham 1 Newcastle 0

Possession 28% Shots 8 On Target 2 Corners 3

Wolves 1 Newcastle 1

Possession 40% Shots 9 On Target 3 Corners 1

Newcastle 2 Huddersfield 0

Possession 54% Shots 29 On Target 12 Corners 12

Newcastle 2 Burnley 0

Possession 54% Shots 13 On Target 3 Corners 4

West Ham 2 Newcastle 0

Possession 44% Shots 12 On Target 2 Corners 6

Newcastle 3 Everton 2

Possession 45% Shots 19 On Target 7 Corners 8

Bournemouth 2 Newcastle 2

Possession 51% Shots 12 On Target 4 Corners 6

Arsenal 2 Newcastle 0

Possession 29% Shots 3 On Target 1 Corners 2

Newcastle 0 Crystal Palace 1

Possession 54% Shots 18 On Target 5 Corners 9

Leicester 0 Newcastle 1

Possession 28% Shots 11 On Target 5 Corners 3

Newcastle 3 Southampton 1

Possession 43% Shots 15 On Target 6 Corners 4

Brighton 1 Newcastle 1

Possession 50% Shots 9 On Target 1 Corners 4

Newcastle 2 Liverpool 3

Possession 31% Shots 14 On Target 7 Corners 2

Fulham 0 Newcastle 4

Possession 32% Shots 13 On Target 6 Corners 5

As you can see, whilst at times Newcastle had low possession, they still had in all but the very odd game a plan on trying to create chances and score goals, with decent or better numbers of shots, efforts on target and/or corners.

It is miracle that Newcastle have as many as nine points the way they have played and if they continue to play in a similar fashion, they will be relegated.

Steve Bruce needs to take responsibility and organise these players into a better team, one that is capable of providing a threat.

Alternatively, he needs to be the change and move on.

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