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Steve Bruce tells Mike Ashley he would prefer to have one or two quality signings instead of ‘masses’

1 week ago
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Mike Ashley was a surprise presence on Tuesday night, adding his weight to the FA Cup third round crowd.

A first appearance this season at St James Park for the NUFC owner as United put in a professional display and Rochdale swiftly folded.

After the 4-1 win and especially Joelinton scoring his first goal in five months, Newcastle fans were quick to say after the final whistle that Mike Ashley would be saying what’s all this fuss about a lack of goals and quality up front…

Indeed, Newcastle United would have no trouble every match if your average Premier League side defended as Rochdale did in those opening 26 minutes.

Newcastle three up at the break despite the bizarre statistic of only having had two efforts on target.

Joelinton eventually managed to get his much awaited second goal of a Newcastle career that is six months old now, a very decent finish after excellent work and low cross from debutant 20 year old Tom Allan.

Steve Bruce predictably saying after the game that he hopes this goal can be a spark for more to come in the Premier League: ‘So lets hope it just gives him that bit of confidence which every striker needs. Look, he has been part of nearly every game, he never misses a training session, the kid wants to do well.’

Steve Bruce had said on Monday that Mike Ashley was paying a visit this week and everybody assumed it would be a helicopter into the training ground later on this week. Instead Ashley was in the crowd on Tuesday and is ‘here for a day or two’ according to the NUFC Head Coach. The main topic of course will be new signings, or at least that is what fans hope is the case and indeed is what Steve Bruce indicated on Monday.

Despite last night’s four goals, nobody should be under any illusions that goals and creativity are desperately needed in the Premier League, as well as more positive tactics. Newcastle have only 21 goals in 22 Premier League matches and Steve Bruce has previously made clear that a goalscoring striker is his priority in this transfer window, as well as a winger and central midfielder.

Ahead of speaking to the owner, Steve Bruce last night made clear to Mike Ashley about what he’d like to see happen – one or two ‘quality’ players rather than quantity (‘masses’): ‘You have seen the difference Saint-Maximin and Almiron have made in particular. That bit of quality is always what you need in the Premier League and rather than have masses, I would rather just have one or two.’

Steve Bruce asked about Newcastle’s £40m man after first goal in five months:

“Look, it’s a hard job to play here.

“There is an expectation on him [Joelinton].

“A transfer fee, a burden…sometimes that becomes difficult.

“Many, many players have come to the Premier League with big experience and found it a struggle.

“So lets hope it just gives him that bit of confidence which every striker needs.

“Look, he has been part of nearly every game, he never misses a training session, the kid wants to do well.

“Of course, he would like to have done better than he has done, but he can only improve and get better and that is my job, to keep pushing him along.”

Asked about transfer window:

“We have had one or two who it wasn’t possible to get.

“We are still trying for one or two.

“We have still got a couple of plates spinning round.

“Mike Ashley has been supportive since I have walked through the door.

“Mike Ashley is here for a day or two so we’ll meet up.

“If there is somebody there who can improve us, we will try and act.

“You have seen the difference Saint-Maximin and Almiron have made in particular.

“That bit of quality is always what you need in the Premier League and rather than have masses, I would rather just have one or two.”

Stats (half-time stats in brackets) from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 4 Rochdale 1 (Newcastle 3 Rochdale 0) – Tuesday 14 January 7.45pm

Goals:

Newcastle:

O’Connell (OG) 17, M Longstaff 20, Almiron 26, Joelinton 82

Rochdale:

Williams 86

Possession was Rochdale 36% (30%), Newcastle 64% (70%)

Total shots were Rochdale 12 (5), Newcastle 16 (7)

Shots on target were Rochdale 5 (2), Newcastle 5 (2)

Corners were Rochdale 5 (3), Newcastle 5 (4)

Crowd: 29,786 (3,000 Rochdale)

Referee:Graham Scott

Newcastle team v Rochdale:

Darlow, Krafth, Lascelles (Allan 57), Lejeune, Ritchie (Shelvey 69), Hayden, Sean Longstaff, Matty Longstaff, Atsu, Almiron (Carroll 62), Joelinton

Unused Subs:

Elliot, Clark, Willems, Fernandez

(Jamaal Lascelles with positive messages after 4-1 win over Rochdale – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 4 Rochdale 1 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Tuesday’s win – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 4 Rochdale 1 – Job done and a remarkable 3-0 half-time lead despite only 2 shots on target – Read HERE and watch Almiron’s goal)

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