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Steve Bruce Newcastle claims ahead of Aston Villa match – Have now been fact-checked

6 months ago
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Steve Bruce has made various claims ahead of the Aston Villa match.

Talking to the media ahead of the game, the Newcastle United Head Coach keen to get over his agenda.

However, can we take everything that Steve Bruce says at face value?

With many of his dodgy predecessors who were employed by Mike Ashley, you were often left feeling like…that doesn’t sound quite right.

So with the various journalists apparently not too keen on questioning what Steve Bruce has to say in press conferences, I thought I’d take a closer look.

Here is my fact-checking on the latest Steve Bruce declarations:

Up against former club Aston Villa, does that make it extra special?:

“I have had so many former clubs but it always adds something extra.

“I had a couple of decent years there [Aston Villa] so I will look forward to the challenge of trying to beat them.”

FACT-CHECK:

Aston Villa fans have been quick to call foul on social media on this one, they are wondering which ‘couple of decent years’ Steve Bruce is referring to.

He had the most expensive squad in the Championship and taking over with 35 games still remaining of the 2016/17 season could only finish 13th, 32 points behind Newcastle at the top. Then 2017/18 could only finish fourth and lost in the play-offs, before being sacked on 2 October 2018 after a run of one win in ten games.

Aiming for top half?:

“Can we aim towards the top 10? We’re three or four points adrift of that. Would that be an achievement? In my eyes, probably yes.

“We are where we are and we try to keep edging towards where I want to take us, which is probably towards the top 10. I’ve said that since I’ve walked through the door.”

FACT-CHECK:

Hmmm, maybe we need to look at the actual Premier League table…

Well, this is pretty shameless from Steve Bruce and surely the journalists should have been pulling him up on this.

As it stands, Newcastle are eight points behind tenth placed Arsenal.

However, in reality the gap to tenth and top half is surely even greater than that. Aston Villa have three games in hand of most teams and even if you ignore tonight’s match against Newcastle, if you assume they would likely win one of the other two matches in hand, they would then have 29 points and effectively NUFC and Steve Bruce are a massive ten points off top half, NOT ‘three or four’!!!

Whilst Chris Waugh of The Athletic related this on Twitter after Steve Bruce’s media interaction on Friday:

‘Bruce asked about whether Newcastle United Takeover “ups the ante” of needing to survive:

“Whether it’s the takeover or not, we’ve been in the bottom half for 15 years bar one.

“We all want to be striving for higher, when everyone is fit and right, we’ve always got a chance.”

FACT-CHECK:

In the last 15 years have Newcastle really only once finished top half?

Hmmm, a quick check reveals that it is actually four occasions in that time when NUFC have ended up top half – 7th in 2005/06, 5th in 2011/12, 10th in 2013/14 and 10th in 2017/18.

Actually, in the 14 years before Steve Bruce landed here, Newcastle had 12 PL seasons and so in a third of them (four of twelve) NUFC ended up top half.

Bruce on playing ‘My Way’ and what he actually means by it: 

“We have defended deep and played on the counter-attack pretty much since I have been at the club.

“What my way is, is to try and get us 20 or 30 yards higher up the pitch.”

FACT-CHECK:

This one is slightly trickier as open to interpretation but an easy question / challenge is, well why on earth has Steve Bruce not played ‘my way’ in his first 18 months at Newcastle United? Is that not exactly what he is paid to do???

As for his claim of defended deep and counter-attack…well certainly nobody could EVER accuse Steve Bruce of not defending deep BUT as for counter-attack? The stats show that in 18 months and 56 Premier League matches, NUFC have only score three goals under Bruce when counter-attacking.

As for getting ’20 or 30 yards higher up the pitch’, that plan appears to simply revolve around Karl Darlow booting the ball up the pitch to Andy Carroll, or even worse, leave Callum Wilson up there alone and do it regardless.

Hopefully we will have all our questions answered tonight, when Steve Bruce unleashes a whole new attacking sensation at Villa Park…

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