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Opinion

Steve Bruce defiant after York 1 Newcastle 0 “We didn’t deserve to lose…”

2 weeks ago
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Steve Bruce watched on as Sunday afternoon ended York 1 Newcastle 0.

His Newcastle United first team turned over by former NUFC star Steve Watson’s non-league team.

After the game Steve Bruce was defiant, declaring ‘We didn’t deserve to lose…’

That may possibly be true BUT Newcastle definitely didn’t deserve to win.

The York keeper was barely tested, with few shots heading his way.

We all know the score with friendlies.

If you win, you say how well the team played and how this just shows how good pre-season training is going.

If you don’t win, you say it is all about minutes on the pitch etc etc.

When you lose to a team in the sixth tier of English football after creating very little in the attacking third, you say ‘We didn’t deserve to lose…’

Steve Bruce also added the usual…’It’s all about fitness’ and blamed ‘we made several changes’ as well as ‘They have had an extremely tough week’ before signing off with ‘It is all about getting ready for a month’s time.’

I would agree that getting beat in a friendly isn’t any big deal but when  you struggle to really stamp any kind of class on a team five divisions below you, it doesn’t look great, however you try to spin it.

It was an 87th minute header from Michael Duckworth that earned the victory but 20 year old Dan Langley in the Newcastle goal had already made a few decent saves. Langley filling in of course due to Martin Dubravka’s surgery, Karl Darlow self isolating for 10 days after a positive covid test, plus Gillespie and Woodman also self isolating as close contacts of Darlow.

Ryan Fraser put an effort wide of the post and ASM had a decent shot blocked with a quarter of an hour still on the clock but it was anything but one way traffic.

Ritchie, Gayle and Watts all had half chances they maybe could / should have done better with but that was about that.

Steve Bruce said before the game that the idea was to get as many players as possible to get 60 or 70 minutes but starting with  the £60m partnership of Joelinton and Gayle up front against this non-league opposition, the Brazilian limped off injured after 18 minutes, whilst Callum Wilson only lasted a half.

York 1 Newcastle 0

Newcastle United:

Langley, Murphy, Fernandez (Dummett 69), Lascelles (Lewis 46), Watts, Ritchie, Hayden, Hendrick (Matty Longstaff 60), Fraser (Sean Longstaff 60), Wilson (Saint-Maximin 46), Joelinton (Gayle 18 (Muto 80))

Losing to York in a friendly and even struggling to create many chances isn’t the trigger for us to think Newcastle United will struggle this season, I think instead this entire summer of no positive activity, particularly in the transfer market, and the fact Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce are still at the club, meant we knew a long time ago we’d be in for yet another relegation battle.

Last season Newcastle United massively relied on Callum Wilson (and Joe Willock late on) for goals and Allan Saint-Maximin for any creativity, why should we expect anything else this time around, unless better players arrive?

It isn’t a case of doom and gloom based on one poor friendly display against lowly friendly opposition, just acceptance of what Newcastle United are, as we sit here with only four weeks to go until the Premier League season kicks off against West Ham.

If you have an open end to end friendly against any opposition, I don’t think there are many red flags if you end up losing 3-2 or drawing 2-2  / 3-3 or whatever. With chances taken / missed at either end, an inspired keeper or whatever. However, I do think the lack of a creativity and goals in this NUFC side is a serious worry and that is whether we are playing York today or the Hammers when the serious stuff starts.

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