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Steve Bruce makes public his brilliant cunning plan that mastered Jose Mourinho

12 months ago

Jose Mourinho may have won the accolade of best coach in the world four times but it is not every week he comes up against somebody like Steve Bruce.

The Portuguese manager might have won Champions Leagues, Europa Leagues, Premier Leagues, La Ligas, Serie As, Portuguese Leagues, FA Cups, League Cups, Spanish Cups, Portuguese Cups, Italian Cups…but he met his match on Sunday.

Steve Bruce might not have won a single thing in his entire 20+ years as a manager, his solitary European campaign ended before he got to September, but the Newcastle Head Coach outwitted his Spurs counterpart.

Whilst both NUFC fans and neutrals alike thought the Newcastle players were simply told to all stay as close to their own goal as humanly possible, Steve Bruce revealed that there actually had been a plan, or so he claims.

Bruce detailing his cunning plan: ‘The plan was to stay in the game and see what we could do on the counter-attack but it was difficult…’

The ‘small’ weakness in this plan, is that it is just simply nonsense.

By having his entire team camped around the edge of their own box, it simply hands over total control to the opposition, encouraging them to attack at will and create chance after chance, which is what happened.

Like a series of games last season, the result of this match says one thing BUT everything else tells us something different.

All out defence is maybe understandable up to a point against Liverpool but Tottenham? They are an ok team with a couple of class individuals in Son and Kane but they aren’t a great side. Spurs finished 40 points adrift of Liverpool last season but only 15 points ahead of Newcastle, they are a pretty average top half team in my opinion.

Steve Bruce puts forward this ‘plan’ as something that would help Newcastle ‘stay in the game for as long as we could’ but the only two things that did that were Karl Darlow and some incredibly wasteful finishing from Spurs. The only successful part of Bruce’s plan was that it seemed to make Tottenham so complacent that as they wasted chance after chance, they weren’t concerned, as they knew another one would come in a few minutes time.

Harry Kane could and should have had a hat-trick in the first-half, I counted at least six shots in all that he had saved by Darlow. Whilst his striker partner Son hit bar and post with the NUFC keeper well beaten.

As well as being atrocious and embarrassing to watch as a Newcastle fan, these Steve Bruce ‘tactics’ are simply laughable, if he is going to do the same against pretty much every other Premier League club, as he did to a large extent last season, then it will be a grim watch AND all but guaranteed to prove disastrous in terms of results.

Steve Bruce excused his tactics by blaming the absence of Ryan Fraser and Allan Saint-Maximin.

Talk about lame, Fraser has never even started a PL game for Newcastle yet, whilst Steve Bruce exposes really what his entire plan was last season. Defend all match and tell his teammates to give the ball to ASM and hope he does something.

The 11 saves by Karl Darlow on Sunday were the most by a Newcastle goalkeeper in a Premier League match since Tim Krul made 14 against Tottenham in November 2013, when NUFC won 1-0 through a Loic Remy goal.

Thing is though, even under Alan Pardew back in 2013, there was some kind of a plan, Krul was superb that day but Newcastle also carried a threat, having four games on target.

In over five hours (including added time) of Premier League football this season, Steve Bruce’s Newcastle have only had a total of three shots on target, all of them goals.

Steve Bruce would probably claim that as massive coaching success down to him, that due to work on the training pitch his players are the only ones who score every time they have a shot on target.

Reality of course is, that even Steve Bruce can’t survive relying on this kind of luck, he has to come up with proper tactics and a credible plan. On what we have seen these past 14 months, it will be a massive surprise to us all, if that is what we see in the weeks and months ahead.

Steve Bruce talking to the Chronicle:

“My thought process was to stay in the game for as long as we could.

“We were dealt a blow with Allan Saint-Maximin not being ready, or Ryan Fraser, who can obviously take us up the pitch quicker.

“They are our natural wide players with pace.

“So yes, it [the plan] was stay in the game but we need to do better than we did in the first half.

“I know Tottenham were good but we didn’t do enough in my opinion.

“The plan was to stay in the game and see what we could do on the counter-attack but it was difficult.

“In the first half, we found it a real struggle against a really good Tottenham team.

“They were buoyed by scoring five away from home last week at Southampton.

“We struggled to contain them or get a foothold in the game, the performance of Karl Darlow was terrific.

“We were better as the game went on.

“Let’s be honest we got a fortunate decision [for the penalty], it was the right one by the letter of the law, but if it went against us I’d be outraged.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Tottenham 1 Newcastle 1 – Sunday 27 September 2pm


Newcastle United:

Wilson pen 90+7


Moura 25

(Half-time stats in brackets)

Possession was Tottenham 66% (68%) Newcastle 34% (32%)

Total shots were Tottenham 23 (12) Newcastle 6 (2)

Shots on target were Tottenham 12 (5) Newcastle 1 (0)

Corners were Tottenham 10 (5) Newcastle 4 (2)

Referee: Peter Bankes

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Manquillo, Fernandez, Lascelles, Ritchie (Lewis 69), Shelvey, Hayden, Hendrick (Murphy 74), Almiron (Carroll 77), Wilson, Joelinton

Unused Subs:

Gillespie, Krafth, Yedlin, Sean Longstaff

Crowd: 00,000

(Steve Bruce admits Newcastle United star looks set for operation and four months out – Read HERE)

(Tottenham 1 Newcastle 1 – Match ratings and comments on all NUFC players – Read HERE)

(Jose Mourinho takes vow of silence after Newcastle United spoil his super Sunday – Read HERE)

(Jamie Carragher loves what he sees in Newcastle match “Absolute disgrace. It is an absolute joke.” – Read HERE)

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

(Tottenham 1 Newcastle 1 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Sunday’s unbelievable draw – Read HERE)

(Deserved penalty and first NUFC shot on target in over 3 hours – Tottenham 1 Newcastle 1 – Read HERE)


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