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Can Steve Bruce change?

9 months ago

One of the features of football is it’s constantly evolving and today’s heroes can soon become yesterday’s men.

This is particularly true of managers.

You only need to look at Arsenal, where Arsene Wenger and his all-conquering team were soon overtaken by a number of other clubs.

There are only a handful of managers who manage to be successful at the highest level over a long period of time, whilst there are many others who are only effective at the highest level for a far shorter period.

The question is, which one of these groups does Steve Bruce belong to?

If you look at when Steve Bruce last managed at the highest level, there are only three of his contemporaries that are still managing in the Premiership – Jose Mourinho, Sean Dyche and the recently returned Sam Allardyce.

You could argue that all three of their stars have waned and nowadays Big Sam is only employed to get clubs out of trouble but isn’t trusted by the likes of West Ham or Everton to take them to a higher level.

As for the rest, would any team in the Premiership (apart from Newcastle United!) seriously consider bringing in the likes of Chris Ramsay, Mark Hughes, Garry Monk, John Carver, Tony Pulis, Alan Pardew, Tim Sherwood or Ronald Koeman to manage their team?

One of the ways that Premier League football has changed in the intervening years is that foreign coaches have introduced new ways of playing, with the likes of Jurgen Klopp and Ralph Hasenhuttl playing a high pressing game, while Pep Guardiola has put the emphasis on retaining possession, with even the goalkeeper’s playing their part in passing moves.

Newcastle, under Steve Bruce, do neither of these things.

We rarely pressure teams high up the pitch or retain possession and quite often Karl Darlow’s only option is to launch hopeful high balls up the pitch which often result in us losing possession. The big question is, can Steve Bruce change and adapt to these new ways of playing the game?

So far, you’d have to say the answer is no, with the team struggling against teams that play a high pressing game and being dominated by teams that retain possession.

Louise Taylor in the Guardian said you could describe Newcastle United as being an effective counter attacking team, but to me, an effective counter-attacking team is one that may concede possession but limits the opposing team to a few chances which is rarely the case with our club.

An effective counter-attacking team also moves the ball quickly and get people up the pitch to support its forward players, which again is rarely the case with our team, with its laboured build up play and with the Newcastle forwards often being outnumbered and isolated when they receive the ball.

Newcastle have previously employed managers whose best days were behind them, in the shape of Joe Kinnear and Steve McClaren, the question is, have they done it again by bringing in Steve Bruce?


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