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Jonjo Shelvey credits Steve Bruce for win – Says under Rafa would have just been ‘lumping the ball’

4 weeks ago
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Jonjo Shelvey has been talking after Newcastle United’s very fortunate victory over Newport County.

Trailing for 82 minutes after conceding with only five minutes on the clock, Shelvey scored an equaliser with three minutes remaining.

Then despite Joelinton giving Newport an early penalty shoot-out advantage, Mark Gillespie saved one and at sudden death the Newport player skied his, meaning the Magpies went through 5-4 on penalties against the League Two side.

Fans watching on TV at home were frustrated and appalled by the Steve Bruce tactics and the actions of most of those on the pitch in black and white.

Playing against League Two opposition, the main (only?) tactic was hitting long balls up to the totally immobile Andy Carroll, with only very rarely any outbreak of football threatening to break out for Newcastle United.

Quite incredibly though, Jonjo Shelvey praises / credits Steve Bruce for the win because he insists on them playing passing football, as opposed to life under Rafa Benitez (according to Jonjo Shelvey) ‘where probably would have just tried lumping the ball into the box.’

Jonjo Shelvey declaring: ‘We know that we have got character. Probably going back two or three years ago, we probably would have just tried lumping the ball into the box but the gaffer wants us to play. We have took a lot of criticism to be fair over the past couple of weeks about not creating enough chances and stuff like that. We worked on it yesterday to keep going, keep probing and keep passing the ball.’

Quite incredible, if not for the fact that Jonjo Shelvey is totally ‘Team Bruce’…

The football and tactics have been shocking under Steve Bruce but Shelvey insists: ‘…it is a work in progress and we are going to keep trying , keep trying to pass the ball and entertain the fans at home.’

A strange way of doing that with the ultra negative and clueless tactics seen in the games against Brighton and Spurs, as well as the very poor displays against lower league Blackburn and Newport.

Last season Newcastle got eight points from these exact same opening four fixtures but Jonjo Shelvey thinks a win on Saturday and seven points from them this time would be ‘a fantastic achievement’: ‘I think if we beat Burnley on Saturday it will have been a great start, the first four games to have seven points out of twelve, which would be a fantastic achievement.’

Well, considering just how badly Newcastle have played so far in the opening six league and cup matches so far, with an almost total lack of attacking threat or ideas, it will be quite remarkable if by the end of Saturday Newcastle are top half of the Premier League table and in the last eight of the Carabao Cup. The Steve Bruce luck riding higher than ever.

Jonjo Shelvey was woeful last night and showed no desire to impose himself against a lower league team, strolling about next to the centre-backs and happily hitting long balls up the pitch, mainly towards Andy Carroll, rather than Shelvey carrying the ball and providing a proper threat.

Only in the closing stages when Joelinton replaced Carroll and up against a tiring Newport, did Newcastle play some half decent football. The Brazilian and Lewis doing ok, Murphy the best of a bad bunch throughout – though with no end product.

As for Jonjo Shelvey, he did eventually get higher up the pitch as Newport tired and retreated but apart from taking all the corners and free-kicks, his contribution was minimal.

Until of course he hit that excellent equaliser (see below) with three minutes to go, a match saving strike but I doubt any Newcastle fan watching will see that as balancing out the midfielder’s lack of effort and impact for the rest of the game.

West Ham were woeful in that opening Premier League match and gave Jonjo Shelvey and Andy Carroll all the time and space in the world but in the top tier that is very rare to see, as we have seen even against League Two Newport, Newcastle will need far more than that to have a decent season in the Premier League.

Not difficult to understand why Jonjo Shelvey is loving life with Steve Bruce rather than Rafa Benitez.

Rafa renowned for the relentless work he does on the training ground to drill into his players what he wants them to do and insisting that they work and work at it, until they get it as near as perfect as possible.

In contrast, Danny Rose revealed when on loan at Newcastle, that having been lucky to even get one day off a week from training when playing under Maurico Pochettino, he couldn’t believe that under Steve Bruce how much time you get off…’So now I’m at Newcastle [with Steve Bruce], you are getting two or three days off a week if you win!’

Jonjo Shelvey talking to NUFC TV:

“We knew it was never going to be easy coming here.

“They have made it tough against a lot of Premier League and Championship teams coming here.

“We knew it would be a tough game and we got caught cold early doors.

“They got obviously a lucky goal but I felt overall we deserved a win but we made more hard work of it than what we should have done.”

Interviewer:

‘It did seem to be slipping away towards the end there, what does it say about the team that they did carry on and get through in the end?’

Jonjo Shelvey:

“We know that we have got character.

“Probably going back two or three years ago, we probably would have just tried lumping the ball into the box but the gaffer wants us to play.

“We have took a lot of criticism to be fair over the past couple of weeks about not creating enough chances and stuff like that.

“We worked on it yesterday to keep going, keep probing and keep passing the ball.

“I felt we created so many chances and we just didn’t put them away towards the end, we came away with the win though, which is the main thing.”

Interviewer:

‘The one chance you did

Jonjo Shelvey:

“I just got the ball off Joey [Joelinton] and chopped the fella.

“Then I chopped him again, brought it back on to my right, I see that end of the goal and just tried whipping it towards the far post and it’s gone in.”

Interviewer:

‘How nervous are you when it goes to penalties?’

Jonjo Shelvey:

“I wasn’t to be fair, particularly nervous.

“We practised penalties yesterday and we have got some great people in the dressing room, who are very cool and calm under pressure, so I felt that when we went to pens, we would win.

“I think if we beat Burnley on Saturday it will have been a great start, the first four games to have seven points out of twelve, which would be a fantastic achievement.

“I know that we have not been pretty on the eye but it is a work in progress and we are going to keep trying , keep trying to pass the ball and entertain the fans at home.

“Sometimes you have to win ugly, like tonight.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newport 1 Newcastle 1 (4-5 on penalties) – Wednesday 30 September 5.30pm

Goals:

Newcastle United:

Shelvey 87

Penalty Shootout – NUFC pens: Wilson scores, Joelinton’s saved, Schar scores, Shelvey scores, Murphy scores, Sean Longstaff scores

Newport:

Abrahams 5

Possession was Newport 35% (40%) Newcastle 65% (60%)

Total shots were Newport 12 (7) Newcastle 27 (8)

Shots on target were Newport 2 (1) Newcastle 10 (4)

Corners were Newport 4 (2) Newcastle 8 (1)

Referee: Josh Brooks

Newcastle United:

Gillespie, Manquillo, Fernandez, Krafth (Schar 72), Lewis, Fraser, Shelvey, Sean Longstaff, Murphy, Almiron (Wilson 62), Carroll (Joelinton 62)

Unused Subs

Darlow, Hendrick, Anderson, Hayden

Crowd: 00,000

(3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Newport 1 Newcastle 1 (4-5 on penalties) – Read HERE)

(Newport 1 Newcastle 1 (4-5 on penalties) – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Wednesday’s win – Read HERE)

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