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Alan Shearer has given this excellent reality check to Steve Bruce after Sunday’s events

3 months ago
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When Alan Shearer speaks, it is always listening.

Nowhere more so than when he is talking about Newcastle United.

The club legend talking about how the situation stands at NUFC, after the events of Sunday at St James Park and elsewhere.

Alan Shearer giving Steve Bruce the perfect reality check.

Newcastle playing a lot better against Tottenham and deserving of their point in the 2-2 draw, however, the bigger picture is that in the past four months, Bruce and his NUFC players have only won two of their last twenty one matches.

Alan Shearer sees the relegation fight as very much only between Newcastle and Fulham and even after yesterday’s draw and Fulham’s dramatic defeat (leading 1-0 but conceding three in the final 12 minutes) which left United three points clear, the Shearer verdict was: ‘Well, I am always hopeful – I am just not hugely confident.’

The NUFC legend pointing out that after everything that has gone before, it would be ridiculous to assume everything will turn out ok, starting with next weekend, Fulham home to Wolves on Friday night and Newcastle then visit Burnley on Sunday.

As Alan Shearer says, with 77 minutes on the clock at Villa Park yesterday, Newcastle United were in the bottom three.

Interesting to see what Alan Shearer says here below, maybe the most honest / brutal he has been about Steve Bruce this season. Praising his mate for his part in the much improved performance and attacking intent…but then stating that this is in sharp contrast to so much of the negativity previously this season, which as we all know is massively down to Steve Bruce and his tactics, formations and team selections.

Alan Shearer makes clear that there can be no room for complacency and you simply can’t rely on Fulham failing, as was the case yesterday.

Shearer declaring that Sunday can’t be just a one-off and gives this message to the Newcastle United Head Coach and his players: ‘…they will also need to repeat the attacking intent they showed on Sunday, because previously we have not seen anything like enough of that from them…I hope it’s just the start for them, but the reality is they are still in a relegation battle.’

Alan Shearer speaking to BBC Sport:

“I see it as a straight shootout between Newcastle and Fulham to decide who stays in the Premier League, and right now it’s impossible to call.

“I think their survival relies on just one thing – finishing above Fulham.

“Will the Magpies do it? Well, I am always hopeful – I am just not hugely confident. This weekend went their way, and I hope the next one does too, but I can’t be sure it will.

“The way Steve Bruce’s side played in their 2-2 draw with Tottenham gives me a little bit more belief but next time, when they play the Clarets and Fulham take on Wolves, it could easily be the other way around.”

Newcastle need to keep attacking intent

“Bruce said afterwards that he was confident his side would stay up if they could maintain the performance level they produced against Spurs for the rest of the season, and I’d agree with him there – they have set the standard now.

“But, as part of that, they will also need to repeat the attacking intent they showed on Sunday, because previously we have not seen anything like enough of that from them.

“There have been plenty of occasions where they have been too negative, where they have played sideways or backwards and have ended up being pushed back.

“Right from the start against Spurs their attitude was different. Bruce tweaked his system to play with two up front and it meant Newcastle got more men forward, which gave them more attacking options. They were on the front foot, passed the ball forward and got plenty of crosses into the box.

“It was a much more ambitious approach in every way and it allowed them to create lots of chances – they had more shots, 17, from inside the opposition box than they have managed in any other Premier League game this season. The fact Tottenham were so bad defensively obviously helped too.”

They refused to give up and they got their reward

Bruce himself deserves some credit too, for the calls he made before and during the game.

“There have been many days this season when he and Newcastle have not got it right, when they have been slow and sluggish and lacked energy and ideas.

“Everyone has to take their share of the blame when things go wrong, and Steve is no different there.

“But you always get a chance to put it right, and he and his players did that on Sunday, albeit in a small way. They still didn’t win, but I was impressed with the way they refused to give up and ended up getting something out of the game.

“I hope it’s just the start for them, but the reality is they are still in a relegation battle.

“Despite all the encouraging things I’ve just mentioned, you have to remember Newcastle would be in the bottom three now if Fulham had not collapsed in the final 12 minutes against Aston Villa.

“There will be many more twists and turns like that before we find out who does escape the drop.”

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