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These Steve Bruce excuses just don’t wash

9 months ago

So it ended Wolves 1 Newcastle United 1 and once again you have to ask…Where do we start?

On the face of it, it was a decent point, as any away point in the Premier League always is.

However, that point once again hides a multitude of sins.

Miguel Almiron’s goal was our only shot on target (a frequent stat) and once again our possession (35%) was the kind of stat that shows a more backs to the wall job rather than the ‘front foot’ football advocated by Head Coach Steve Bruce.

Not a great deal wrong with those stats in an absolute sense but surely the best way of stopping the opposition scoring, or even attacking, is to retain the ball for as long as possible? Or am I being thick?

Anyway, the one thing that will overshadow the point gained, is once again the injuries sustained during the game, with both Paul Dummett (rushed back by Steve Bruce) and Dwight Gayle (hardly given a run out by Bruce despite praising him as a player he rates) coming off early on and Joelinton stumbling through before being replaced near the end.

Observers I spoke to afterwards said that many players looked knackered and this is a major worry, bearing in mind we are only halfway through January.

I’m sure people might not believe me but I don’t like going on about former Manager Rafa Benitez all the time but one thing must be highlighted.

Defenders of Steve Bruce have pointed out that we have 26 points this season, they also point out (correctly) that at this stage last season we only had 18 under Benitez. The trouble is, Benitez played the long game. He saw the season as a whole and didn’t moan about fixture congestion. He knew what was coming and planned accordingly, something which Bruce clearly doesn’t do. You can be certain that the events that have played out thus far this season will affect what goes on for the remainder of the campaign. Having an injury crisis now could be VERY bad news if not remedied/rectified.

I’ve always bleated on about the trio of Rafa Benitez, Salomon Rondon and Ayoze Perez being the most missed from last season (and they are) but now it appears that the fitness of our squad is badly lacking from that of 2018/19. Not having enough quality through poor recruitment is one thing, running out of players through mismanagement is quite another. This is the fault of Steve Bruce.

Not for the first time this season it’s the comments from the Head Coach that provide . . I would say amusement, if they weren’t so laughable as they are inaccurate.

As a direct comparison, just cast your minds back to last season.

We drew with Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup Third Round on January 5th which went to a replay on January 15th. That replay was our 25th game of the season. When the players finish the game this coming Tuesday night against Rochdale (14th January) how many games will we have played this season? Answer- 25. Bruce’s excuses don’t add up.

“Are we just unlucky or is there a reason why? I’ve got my own ideas, I keep telling everyone it’s the amount of games we play and when you play people fatigued you risk that trouble.”- Steve Bruce 11th January 2020.

Steve, please stop, you are a charlatan.

Players can’t just do stop/start football and if they do have to make do with fleeting appearances., their fitness need micromanaging accordingly. Are the Newcastle United coaching staff doing such things? It would certainly appear not to be the case.

And there’s more. Yesterdays opponents Wolves have played 37 games since late July and with their Europa League excursions, include flying to the back of beyond and back again for domestic fixtures, something which we haven’t had to do. They’ve been held in the FA Cup Third round (by Manchester United no less) which at least mirrors our draw with lowly Rochdale in the result if not the quality of the opposition. Wolves even played four games in twelve days over the festive period just as we did. Our game yesterday being only our 24th of the season. Hardly a gruelling campaign when compared to Wolves who have incredibly played 13 more games.

Your excuses don’t wash Steve.

Apparently Bruce will be looking into the matter this week, so at least we can hopefully see progress on why the injuries keep piling up.

Now I don’t envisage Bruce creeping around the training ground, magnifying glass in hand inspecting the medicine balls and sticking a thermometer in the wheelie bins full of ice. But more unfortunately this ‘investigation’ is far more introspective than Bruce would care to believe or admit. Bruce The Excuse has found the problem already but it has sailed above his head. When he was pressed by the media after the match he astonishingly tripped himself up.

“I didn’t replace or take in any new medical staff. (Since last season) Nothing’s changed in that respect.”

Just run that by yourself Steve, for you are getting close to a breakthrough on the matter. No need to call Inspector Morse, Bergerac, Miss Marple, Columbo or any other sleuth to find out where the crime is coming from.

Think very carefully Steve and take your time.

The only thing that HAS changed since last season, is the coaching staff.

Case closed!


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