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Garth Crooks claims on Steve Bruce and Newcastle United now looking just a little premature

4 weeks ago
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A week ago Garth Crooks declared:

“This time last season, Steve Bruce was arguably the most unpopular man in the north east.

“He is now considered a very credible manager, having created a team worthy of the area.”

That was after Newcastle had won 2-0 against a poor West Ham, NUFC scoring with their only two efforts on target in a decent performance, although the Hammers did hit the bar twice and had more possession, corners and shots on target than Steve Bruce’s team.

Garth Crooks hasn’t made any additional comments to back up last week’s claims, little wonder after what was witnessed on Sunday at St James Park.

Newcastle completely dominated by Brighton, who had more possession, more shots, more efforts on targets, with the Seagulls keeper not having a single save to make.

Steve Bruce and his team were undone in only seven minutes, with the chief architect being a 19 year old making only his ninth ever Premeir League start.

Right wing-back Tariq Lamptey tore Newcastle apart and Garth Crooks declared: ‘Lamptey was only on the pitch for 57 minutes, having run Allan Saint-Maximin ragged…This kid can play.’

Astonishing tactical naivety from Steve Bruce saw him do nothing to prepare against Brighton’s exciting young best player, ASM not the best at defending and despite the French winger caught out a number of times at West Ham, Steve Bruce left him in there to mark Brighton’s biggest attacking threat, instead of putting Almiron in, who would have been perfect to try and combat the threat.

Bruce said it would have been ‘unfair’ to leave Andy Carroll out but the three big Brighton centre-backs loved the cluelessness of the NUFC Head Coach’s decision, easily dealing with Carroll’s aerial threat and with his severe lack of mobility, Wilson was left with no help and it also meant Brighton could build easily from the back with no pressure.

ASM needs to be played in a forward looking role with the emphasis on getting forward and should have played up near Wilson instead of Carroll, with Almiron filling in on the left.

Newcastle next face Crooks’ old club Spurs in the Premier League and here’s hoping we will see that Newcastle ‘team worthy of the area’, or at least a shot on target anyway.

Steve Bruce has won just five of Newcastle’s last 22 Premier League matches and two of those were against 10 men, it is always daft to make a judgement based on one game as Garth Crooks might now be realising but hopefully Bruce can prove doubters wrong on Sunday, with at least a performance if not a result.

Garth Crooks explaining to BBC Sport why he chose Tariq Lamptey in his Premier League team of the week (full PL team of the week below):

“His performance against Chelsea in midweek was impressive but against Newcastle United on Sunday he was even better.

“Lamptey won Brighton’s penalty and was later involved in the move that put the game beyond the visitors.

“Lamptey was only on the pitch for 57 minutes, having run Allan Saint-Maximin ragged.

“When Lamptey was eventually substituted with an injury, the match had been won by the Seagulls – and that was largely down to Lamptey’s contribution.

“This kid can play.

“Did you know? Lamptey made more interceptions against Newcastle than any other Brighton player (four).”

Garth Crooks Premier League team of the week:

Alisson (Liverpool)

Tariq Lamptey (Brighton)

Fabinho (Liverpool)

Ezri Konsa (Aston Villa)

James Rodriguez (Everton)

James McArthur (Crystal Palace)

Kevin de Bruyne (Man City)

Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)

Sadio Mane (Liverpool)

Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton)

Son Heung-min (Tottenham)

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