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Opinion

I can’t believe what Gary Lineker, Danny Murphy and Ian Wright said about Newcastle after Watford defeat

1 month ago
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Gary Lineker was the host on Match of The Day as usual.

Saturday night seeing the main man joined by Danny Murphy and Ian Wright to review the day’s games.

West Ham hammering Norwich, then Sheffield United taking apart Chelsea.

Then Watford v Newcastle up before the top two, Man City at Brighton and Liverpool drawing with Burnley.

I was interested to see / hear what the pundits would have to say about the woeful second half at Vicarage Road, especially Steve Bruce’s terrible game management, his use/misuse of subs, the way he unsettled the team with those subs, his complete failure to counter the changes Nigel Pearson had made at half-time.

So what did Gary Lineker, Danny Murphy and Ian Wright have to say about Steve Bruce’s failings on Saturday? Taking into account just how much time they (especially Murphy) spend going on and on about how great Steve Bruce is, whenever anything remotely positive happens.

The answer was / is, nothing.

As you can see from the quotes below, the only references at all to Newcastle are Danny Murphy agreeing with Steve Bruce that the first goal was a soft penalty (it wasn’t, the TV replays showed Ritchie definitely caught the Watford player) and that Manquillo was to blame for the second penalty / goal.

No mention at all from Danny Murphy that seemingly for no reason, only three minutes earlier, Bruce had subbed Rose and forced Manquillo to switch to his weaker role on the left where he gave away the penalty.

Why did Gary Lineker and friends only want to talk about how Watford won the game and not also how Newcastle and Steve Bruce lost it? It isn’t like golf where if your opponent starts playing well there is nothing you can do to stop that, in football the quality managers respond to the other team improving by making changes of their own.

Ironically, back in November 2019 after Newcastle had won against West Ham and Bournemouth, Danny Murphy said this about Steve Bruce:

“What he has done, is with the players he has got, he has found a way of winning games.

“He has made some very, very cute tactical changes in various games which I have seen. Steve Bruce is not scared to make big decisions.”

You can’t have it both ways. Danny Murphy is one of the worst of the lot in terms of going way over the top about Bruce, and ridiculing Newcastle fans who point out that the head coach has done no more than ok, and that the points total has been largely down to massive helpings of luck.

Saturday’s game kind of summed up our season overall.

In open play there is little other plan than relying on giving the ball to Allan Saint-Maximin and hoping he will do something, will then other than that, a massive over-reliance on goals to come from set-pieces, as in Watford allowing Fernandez a free header for Gayle’s goal. The final component of course being Martin Dubravka performing heroics in goal, making some great saves yesterday and no chance with the penalties.

Steve Bruce has done an ok job in terms of no relegation but the refusal repeatedly of those in the media to do any proper critical analysis of what this NUFC season has truly been like, is laughable.

Saturday night Match of The Day:

Gary Lineker:

“It’s a win [for Watford], a vital win as well, Nigel [Pearson] referencing Watford’s improvement in the second half, What was that down to?”

Danny Murphy:

“Well, I would imagine partly him [Nigel Pearson] but they stopped playing with fear and nerves and they got higher up the pitch.

“And Sarr was brilliant second half, he was a catalyst for their performance.

“A bit of a soft penalty [for the first Watford goal] as Steve Bruce said. Sometimes you need a bit of luck to get back involved, to get back in a game.

“But Sarr was the one getting on the ball, taking responsibility, popping up all over and making things happen in a game where they were under pressure.

“[Watford] Higher up the pitch, getting after them, winning the ball back, playing quicker, little give and goes, the confidence is up.

“The momentum had changed by this point [second penalty / goal], bad defending [from Manquillo] as he was too tight, Sarr turns him and waits for the touch and goes down. Was always going to be a penalty.

“They [Watford] have a lot to thanks him [Sarr] for today, he was superb second half.

“But the whole team was better, got higher up the pitch and deserved the win with the second half performance.”

Gary Lineker:

“[Watford] Got the three points, you enjoyed Troy Deeney’s penalties, let’s say he gives them a whack.”

Ian Wright:

“It is 17 out of 21 he [Deeney] has got.

“With the first, I said I know where this is going [hammered down the middle].

“Then the second one, I said I think he is going to slot it but bang! [hammered down the middle again].”

Danny Murphy:

“Pressure penalties them, big moments for Watford.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Watford 2 Newcastle 1 – Saturday 11 July 12.30pm

Goals:

Newcastle United:

Gayle 23

Watford:

Deeney 52 pen and 82 pen

(Half-time stats in brackets)

Possession was Watford 48% (48%) Newcastle 52% (52%)

Total shots were Watford 17 (9) Newcastle 8 (4)

Shots on target were Watford 5 (2) Newcastle 4 (3)

Corners were Watford 2 (0) Newcastle 4 (4)

Referee: Craig Pawson

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Manquillo, Fernandez, Lascelles (Lazaro 87), Rose (Krafth 79), Shelvey, Schar, Almiron, Ritchie (Joelinton 72), Gayle (Bentaleb 78), Saint-Maximin

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Muto, Yedlin, Atsu, M. Longstaff

Crowd: 00,000

(3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Watford 2 Newcastle 1 – Read HERE)

(Steve Bruce blames match officials for Newcastle’s 2-1 defeat at Watford – Read HERE)

(Watford 2 Newcastle 1 match report: ‘Took a while for flip flop wearing version of Newcastle to emerge’ – Read HERE)

(Watford 2 Newcastle 1 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Saturday’s defeat – Read HERE)

(Watford 2 Newcastle 1 – Watch official match highlights HERE including all 3 goals and near misses)

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