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Opinion

Why Steve Bruce needs to play FIFA

9 months ago
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For the first time this year, the scoreline came close to representing the usual hammering we are accustomed to watching during the 90 minutes.

I’m really getting sick of watching this so called team.

I can’t understand how Steve Bruce is so lacking in the basics of football management and how to set a team up.

Let’s start with the midfield.

A little background info first – the biggest attribute in separating a professional footballer from a decent club player is that both can probably do similar stuff with the ball but the professional player can do it much quicker. The professional player will be able to cover the ground much quicker too. I’m not talking about 100m straight line running, or Usain Bolt would be the best player in the world. I’m talking about being first to the ball over five or ten yards.

Pace turns an average player in to a world beater. Look at Michael Owen. An average player with amazing pace that gave him the chances to score (especially against us). He did little more than run past a player and have a shot.

So that brings us to “mastermind of tactics” Steve Bruce and his selection against a free flowing Leeds.

Now, an idiot playing FIFA would look at his players and (if he’s like my kids) would sit there screaming about selecting players in his team based on skill, shooting etc etc and PACE. Bruce selected Hayden, Longstaff, Hendrick and Fraser. Hayden has pace of 61, Longstaff 62, Hendrick 67 and Fraser 90. It’s common knowledge that the midfield is where a game is won or lost.

Imagine how Leeds players felt lining up against those pedestrians. Throw in Shelvey with pace of 58 and you can maybe see where our possession problems lie. These are very slow players. The kind of players Ngolo Kante could play all on his own. These are players who can’t escape their marker to create a passing option to retain possession. These are players who can’t close an opponent down to win back possession either. And people wonder why we have 30% or little more possession every game!

In a “normal” formation you can get away with one slow player in defensive midfield. So for me it’s one from those four and then the likes of ASM, Ritchie, Almiron, Fraser, Murphy to take up the other three spaces.

Joelinton should be nowhere near the team. He has pace of 77 by the way but strength and shooting of 0. Ok, I’m lying about the strength bit but you know what I mean. Gayle is a much better player than Joelinton ever will be.

So what does Bruce mean when he complained that these players can only play one way (referring to the counter attacking style adopted by Benitez)?

Maybe if he picked different players they could play a bit differently! Has he thought of that? I doubt it.

Unfortunately, based on Wednesday night’s performance it looks like he really doesn’t understand the game at all.

He’s complaining about the defending. Perhaps if he concentrated on selecting a team capable of retaining the ball then defending wouldn’t be such an issue – just like Leeds did tonight – and to be honest nearly every other team we have played this season too.

Perhaps if we had the ball 50% of the time then Darlow wouldn’t face 20 shots a game. Try to imagine an in-house training session five a side game between the slow midfield and the others. It would be embarrassing. Well that’s how Steve Bruce sets his side up. He just gets the slow team, adds a defence, Wilson up front and throws Joelinton in to the mix for a laugh.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Leeds 5 Newcastle 2 – Wednesday 16 December 6pm

Goals:

Newcastle:

Hendrick 26, Clark 65

Leeds:

Bamford 35, Rodrigo 61, Dallas 77, Alioski 85,  Harrison 88

(Half-time stats in brackets)

Possession was Leeds 69% (70%) Newcastle 31% (30%)

Total shots were Leeds 25 (14) Newcastle 10 (4)

Shots on target were Leeds 10 (4) Newcastle 4 (2)

Corners were Leeds 7 (2) Newcastle 4 (0)

Referee: Simon Hooper

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Murphy, Fernandez, Clark, Lewis, Hayden, S Longstaff, Hendrick (Krafth 62), Fraser (Almiron 75), Joelinton (Gayle 74), Wilson

Unused Subs:

Gillespie, M Longstaff, Carroll, Shelvey

Crowd: 00,000

(Steve Bruce relies on Amazon Prime delay with laughable claims on Leeds match – Read HERE)

(Marcelo Bielsa verdict on Leeds hammering Newcastle : ‘This was a deserved victory’ – Read HERE)

(3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Leeds 5 Newcastle 2 – Read HERE)

(Leeds 5 Newcastle 2 – Match ratings and comments on all the NUFC players – Read HERE)

(Leeds 5 Newcastle 2 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Wednesday’s hammering – Read HERE)

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