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This latest nonsense suggests Steve Bruce maybe just doesn’t understand the criticism

12 months ago

Steve Bruce is at it again.

The Newcastle United Head Coach wanting to talk about the criticism he gets from Newcastle fans.

Steve Bruce says ‘I understand criticism’…but does he really?

To be honest, reading his latest, I’m beginning to think that maybe he just doesn’t understand the criticism.

Steve Bruce declares: ‘I’ve had criticism since I walked through the door 15 months ago.’

Maybe this is at the heart of it, Bruce either unable or unwilling to understand why Newcastle fans looked at his appointment in disbelief.

Even if you leave aside the fact that Mike Ashley had forced out Rafa Benitez in order to employ a patsy like Steve Bruce and call him Head Coach to make sure nobody was in doubt of how little authority he would have.

You have the fact that before being announced on 17 July 2019, Steve Bruce had become a fixture in the Championship with Hull, Villa and Sheffield Wednesday. His last Premier League season was 2015/16 and he had relegated Hull!

Steve Bruce has never won anything as a manage in well over two decades and has the poorest record of any manager to take charge of so many PL matches (437).

As we have shown before, this was Bruce’s entire Premier League record, compared to other previous Newcastle managers, before Mike Ashley paid Sheff Wed £4m compensation!

As you can see, before joining NUFC, Steve Bruce and his PL teams had averages just 1.12 points per game and 1.03 goals per game.

Not a single other Premier League club would have considered employing Steve Bruce in summer 2019, only Mike Ashley because he wanted a patsy in place so he could push through his mad plan to buy Joelinton at all costs (£43m according to Mike Ashley).

Actually, there are great parallels between Steve Bruce and Joelinton, in terms of supporter reaction to their arrivals. When your club pays £40m / £43m for a goalscoring centre-forward (who Steve Bruce now admits is neither a centre-forward nor a natural goalscorer) whose best league season is scoring eight goals in a year in the Austrian league. Especially when a bit like Rafa’s removal, Mike Ashley had zero interest in keeping player of the year Rondon who had scored 11 PL goals and got seven assists. Then you can throw in Ashley’s other third mad act that summer, replacing 12 goal Ayoze Perez with the nonsense PR signing of Andy Carroll who is never fully fit, so immobile on the pitch, and who now hasn’t scored a Premier League goal for over 30 months.

When decisions don’t seem to make sense then it is because they don’t make sense, which brings us back to Steve Bruce.

Bruce wants it to be all about results and says he understands the criticism after Man Utd because Newcastle lost 4-1.

He wants it to be all about results but throughout pretty much his entire time at Newcastle, the big problems for fans have been the ultra negative tactics that don’t even work (NUFC had seventh best defence in 2017/18 and 2018/19, which Bruce turned into seventh worst in 2019/20) and the formation, team selection and so on, which means the football is woeful to watch and the only attacking plan appears to be give the ball to ASM and rely on your keeper playing a blinder at the other end.

Newcastle fans weren’t happy to lose 4-1 to Man Utd but if by some miracle it had been only 2-1 or even 1-1, like Steve Bruce massively fluked at Spurs, the supporters would still have been talking about a shocking display of 28 shots against NUFC which is the most any PL team has faced this season and a very average Man Utd team allowed total domination and having 14 shots on target, the most in a PL away match for them since 2015.

Steve Bruce keeps saying that the problem is that he is working on making Newcastle more attacking BUT the fans see the tactics and team getting more negative on the pitch!

Bruce talks about every opposition club as though they are a great team and in the case of Spurs and Man Utd as on a whole other level and two of the best in Europe. They are not! They are decent teams but not ones to justify trying to defend for 90 minutes against.

Steve Bruce has been allowed a net spend of over £100m in his 15 months at Newcastle United and the team and tactics are looking worse not better.

During matches he and his other Steves look clueless in terms of trying to change anything for the better, Newcastle fans thinking surely a decent quality manager and coaching team would be getting more out of this group of players.

Steve Bruce has already in the past got angry about being constantly labelled lucky at Newcastle United BUT that is what he has been throughout.

So so lucky to get the job in the first place and then the majority of points that have been picked up in his 43 NUFC PL matches, have been lucky, games where Newcastle deserved to get nothing based on all other available stats, yet against all logic, picking up draws and wins, enough to avoid relegation.

It is all the more galling for Newcastle fans that they see Steve Bruce allowed this £100m+ net spend, unlike any other previous NUFC manager, yet the football gets ever more negative and clueless – whilst pretty much every other club in the Premier League is now playing, or at least trying to do so, attractive attacking football, whether it is Leeds, Leicester, Wolves, Villa, Southampton, Brighton, Everton and whoever, even the likes of Fulham and West Brom are attempting to do so but maybe caught out by an overall lack of quality.

For Newcastle United, fans just see the inevitability of the luck running out, when NUFC are allowing the opposition ridiculous numbers of chances and creating so little at the other end, it can only go one way eventually.

Steve Bruce talking at Friday’s press conference, as reported by the Chronicle:

“Look, we’re disappointed about the result, that’s for sure, and maybe it was a true reflection that they scored four, but I think if you took a true reflection on all the games, they are all a little bit strange and the results we are getting are very strange.

“I understand criticism. I’ve had criticism since I walked through the door 15 months ago and when we get beat then you’re going to get criticised.

“In my opinion, we were too easy to play against last week [against Man Utd] so we didn’t get that balance right so that’s the thing that we must work on and keep improving on to try and get that balance right to to be a little bit more attacking and that’s why we brought in the players that we brought in.

“Rather than being defensive minded, back behind the ball, we are trying to get that balance right. I can understand the criticism totally because, at the end of the day, we lost 4-1 at home. That’s the nature of the beast.

“We’re trying to find the balance of the attacking side to the defending side.

“Certainly, when you leave yourself a little bit open against these big teams – Tottenham and Man U, in my opinion, will both be in the top four – and you open yourself up then this is what happens so it’s getting that balance right.

“Yes, we can talk about Miggy and Ryan [Fraser] but it’s also getting that defensive area right where the goalkeeper has had to make far too many saves. I agree with you.

“It is trying to find that balance but in the whole scheme of it, we have played five games and I believe two of those were against two of the top teams in this country if not Europe and we’ve come away with seven points, which is a decent enough start.

“Of course, we have to work and keep working to get that balance right because we are in the middle of a bit of change and let’s hope we can try and achieve that.

“It won’t happen overnight. Of course not.

“We’ll keep working away at it and improve on it because we have to try and get that balance right.

“We can’t just be far too open, especially against these good teams, who are very good on their day.

“Let’s not forget, we were 1-1, maybe undeservedly, with four minutes to play and I opened us totally at 2-1 and we saw the result of it unfortunately. We have to keep working on it. It’s the big conundrum that I face.”


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