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Steve Bruce rallying call for 2020 ‘if they down tools, then you’ve had it’

4 weeks ago
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Steve Bruce has been talking ahead of facing second top Leicester City and the second half of the season, as we move into the new year.

With three defeats in the last four games and a very three points in the other match (Palace), Steve Bruce has issued a rallying call to players and fans for 2020, which also includes the odd stark warning.

Since losing 5-0 to Leicester at the end of September, Newcastle have won six, drawn two and lost five, though as noted above, three of those five defeats have come in the last two weeks.

Before we get to February, Newcastle face Leicester and Chelsea at home plus Wolves and Everton away, a challenging set of fixtures.

Steve Bruce states that since that defeat to Leicester, Newcastle ‘have been terrific in what we have done’ but adds ‘we would love a bit more quality at certain times but their effort and spirit is there for everybody to see.’

Many would argue that over the top negative tactics have hampered Newcastle, especially in games against weaker teams, with NUFC very lucky to pick up the points they have done, considering how few chances have been created.

The NUFC Head Coach though states: ‘I think we’ve found a system which suits the players of what we’ve got. When we go away from that, I think we’re vulnerable so I think we’ve settled into a pattern of being difficult to play against, playing on the counter attack and that’s what we are. That’s where most of the players are comfortable with and something which we’ve done okay with and they’re comfortable with it. We’ve had a few results so at the moment we will stay with it.’

So it doesn’t look like we can expect any change in the near future.

When Miguel Almiron came into the team in February, Rafa Benitez felt able to play far more attacking football having added pace and creativity up front. However, Steve Bruce clearly doesn’t share that opinion, despite signing a £40m centre-forward and being allowed to bring in better quality at wing-back with Willems. Bruce instead has Almiron playing a very withdrawn defensive right side role.

Steve Bruce has a warning for everybody about the consequences of what would/could happen if the players don’t respond in the right way to these recent defeats: ‘if they down tools, then you’ve had it.’

Can Bruce’s negative tactics and creating minimal chances once again start producing points against the odds? Let’s hope so because if not, there is a real danger of morale hitting rock bottom, playing in a team set up with such minimal ambition.

Based on Lee Charnley’s assurances of what was available to spend (£61m plus cash from sales) there should be around £28m or so to spend this January, plus of course cash from any more sales. Will Steve Bruce be allowed to spend any of that or yet against will Ashley’s and Charnley’s assurances count for nothing?

Steve Bruce talking to official club site:

“I knew that day [losing 5-0 in September] they [Leicester] were a good side.

“In fairness, up until half-time it was only one-nil and we then had a man sent off.

“For me, it wasn’t about the shape and tactics but the resilience.

“When you go to the wire, all I expect is for them to put their boots on and have a go.

“If they do that for me then fine but, on that occasion, I don’t think we covered ourselves in glory.

“We didn’t do enough to prevent the five [goals conceded] with ten men and that was my concern.

“Since then, we have been terrific in what we have done. We’re just outside the top ten at Christmas going into the New Year. There’s a lot to play for.

“The one thing you need is a response and if they down tools, then you’ve had it. [The defeat against Everton] was the first time we’d been beaten [at home]since Arsenal in August so their resilience and effort is something I can’t fault.

“We would love a bit more quality at certain times but their effort and spirit is there for everybody to see.

“I think we’ve found a system which suits the players of what we’ve got. When we go away from that, I think we’re vulnerable so I think we’ve settled into a pattern of being difficult to play against, playing on the counter attack and that’s what we are.

“That’s where most of the players are comfortable with and something which we’ve done okay with and they’re comfortable with it. We’ve had a few results so at the moment we will stay with it.”

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