Steve Bruce “It’s not going to be easy”
Steve Bruce has been talking about the return of competitive matches.
Only five days now until the Premier League kicks off again and nine days until Newcastle play Sheffield United.
Thursday brought news of five NUFC players looking set to miss the restart, amongst them Andy Carroll and Dwight Gayle.
So even more important that those strikers who are fit, can hit the ground running. Yoshinori Muto and Joelinton both scored midweek in the 3-2 friendly win over Middlesbrough and Steve Bruce hopes that has helped give them extra confidence and a boost ahead of that Sheffield United match a week on Sunday.
Not shy of getting his excuses in early, Steve Bruce says ‘It’s not going to be easy’ playing football again after this three month break.
However, it is all a bit irrelevant really as it is the same for everybody.
One thing that will be interesting is whether the Premier League will replicate what has happened elsewhere in terms of home ‘advantage’ in matches.
Steve Bruce pointing to the Bundesliga where only 10 of 46 matches have seen a home win.
They are not unique as other league that also returned early, have seen a similar trend.
The Czech Republic producing only 10 home wins in the first 32 matches, whilst 11 in 29 in Estonia.
With the first three Newcastle matches at St James Park, here’s hoping Steve Bruce and his players buck the trend.
Premier League wins over Sheffield United and Aston Villa would rubber stamp safety and a third win in eight days, over Man City, would see Newcastle heading to Wembley.
Steve Bruce speaking to NUFC TV:
“We are trying to replicate what it is going to be like [once start playing competitive matches].
“It’s not going to be easy.
“As we’ve seen in the Bundesliga, there is no real advantage of playing at home.
“Where our home record has been extremely good, so it will be important to keep that up.
“We have got a few home games early on.
“So it’s all to play for, let’s enjoy the challenge of what lies ahead.
“The most important thing is to get minutes under their belt and everybody came through ok, which is the main thing.
“At this stage we are just looking at fitness levels.
“It has not been easy because we are a bit unprecedented.
“You are not really interested in the result but they showed a little bit of spirit not to be beaten, which is always important.
“I think he [Yoshinori Muto] has never really had a fair crack of the whip but he trains every day as though it’s his last, he has scored a goal [in the friendly win over Middlebrough] so lets hope that helps him, in the next six weeks or whatever we have got to finish off the season.
“A lot has been said of his [Joelinton’s] goal return, a young player, big price tag, number nine on his back, it was never going to be easy.
“The one thing he has got the ability to do is roll up his sleeves and have a go, nobody can fault him in that respect. Of course now he has to add what centre forwards do, score a goal, but we’ve been working on him to work more inside the box, play more inside the box.
“Thankfully he was again in the right position at the right time [to score in the friendly against Middlesbrough], because that is vitally important, and lets hope he can be in the second part of the season after reflecting on his first season in the Premier League…because I’m sure there is more to come.”
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