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Former Steve Bruce player says he’s responsible for lack of goals at Newcastle as it’s typical Bruce tactics

1 week ago
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Steve Bruce watched his team deservedly well beaten on Monday night.

The NUFC Head Coach losing on his first return to Villa Park after been sacked by the then Championship club last year.

Even more worrying than the scoreline was the nature of the defeat.

Steve Bruce employing his usual ultra-negative tactics and formation, leading to an invitation for Villa to dominate from kick-off.

The hosts racking up 68% possession and scoring twice to secure the win, whilst Newcastle rarely got out of their half before the break.

United had a bit of a go at the start of the second-half and pressed Villa a little higher up the pitch but it was too little too late, plus it quickly fizzled out, as the home side wasted a number of glorious chances to win more comfortably.

After disastrous start of only three wins in 11 games, Bruce was replaced last season by Dean Smith, doing a remarkable job as he turned around the mess he inherited from the now NUFC Head Coach and secured promotion.

Alan Hutton played under Steve Bruce at Aston Villa and he can see the same negative tactics leading to the current problems Newcastle have in creating chances, never mind scoring goals.

Hutton making the incisive point: ‘I think the way Steve Bruce sets his teams up, there is such a big gap between the midfield and the striker. It leaves them isolated, it is difficult and you are asking him to do something spectacular to score a goal. Everywhere Steve Bruce has went he has tried to play this formation…’

The thing is, a simple look at his management career, tells you how Steve Bruce sets his team out and the all but inevitable outcome.

These were the stats of the various recent Newcastle managers up to the end of the 2018/19 season, the stats covering all PL matches they have been in charge of at previous clubs.

Quite amazing then that Steve Bruce promised before the season started that his Newcastle team would play on the ‘front foot’ and always look to attack. Even more amazing that lazy journalists blindly repeated this, without bothering to check what had been the reality of teams where Bruce had previously managed.

As the table above proves, Steve Bruce sets his teams out very negatively and tries to grind out results, exactly as we are now seeing at Newcastle. Defending very deep with ultra negative tactics, hoping for a goal from somewhere, usually a set-piece or Saint-Maximin expected to run the length of the pitch and score or create something.

The table shows that over 392 PL games before taking over at Newcastle, Steve Bruce averaged only 1.03 goals per game, far worse than McClaren, Pardew, Kinnear and even boring Fat Sam. Whilst Bruce is a country mile behind top managers like Keegan and Rafa when it comes to teams scoring goals.

However, Bruce’s negative tactics down the years have paid off, to an extent, as his teams have conceded less goals (1.31) than McClaren, Kinnear, Pardew and even Allardyce.

I think the reality is we are guaranteed two things.

Firstly, Steve Bruce will continue you with his very boring negative tactics.

Secondly, Newcastle will rely mainly on staying up by not conceding goals, not scoring them, unless of course Steve Bruce is replaced.

Far more focus needs to be put on the negatives tactics the Head Coach is refusing to change, rather than lazy journalists singling out individual players to shoulder the main blame.

This is simply a Steve Bruce team playing Steve Bruce football.

Alan Hutton speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live:

“I think the way Steve Bruce sets his teams up, there is such a big gap between the midfield and the striker.

“It leaves them isolated, it is difficult and you are asking him to do something spectacular to score a goal.

“Everywhere Steve Bruce has went he has tried to play this formation…

“When we were at Villa he tried to make us play that formation, it didn’t quite work out and we didn’t get going.

“I find it quite difficult for the striker.

“It is very difficult to play that way.

“I think he has given his main front three a good go at it but it has not quite worked out.

“Maybe it is time to bring one of these [other Newcastle attacking players] in.”

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