Things are going better at Newcastle under Steve Bruce than most people thought it would.
They have lost one of their last five and sit in 14th place in the Premier League table, but the Newcastle fans still don’t seem quite so convinced just yet.
“It feels like he can take two steps forward and one back,” said Emma Saunders on this week’s Totally Football Show.”It was a huge point against City: surely, surely this has got to be enough.”
But their performances have been encouraging: they drew with Manchester City this weekend, beat Bournemouth and West Ham in recent weeks and of course defeated Manchester United in October.
So what is Bruce doing right?
“They’re obviously set up to play well on the counter,” said Daniel Storey. “They’ve taken double the amount of points off the ‘big six’ than the teams below them. The fact they have Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin, both of whom dribble past good defenders so often, it just makes a huge difference to have two threats. It means that they don’t just leave one player up front that the defence can just marshal that one player.
“Saint-Maximin is wonderful to watch because, although there is absolutely no end-product, for relieving the pressure against a team like City it’s absolutely perfect. He beat Walker time and time again, and actually embarrassed him two or three times.”
Michael Cox weighed in too: “The weird thing about Newcastle is the sources of goals: they’re getting so many from defenders or long-range strikes, as we saw here. They didn’t create many clear-cut goalscoring chances, but they keep on managing to scrape the wins [and draws].”
So will Bruce get a little more credit soon?
“It is an odd season, and I think that’s part of the reason Newcastle fans are a little bit reserved. They aren’t big into Bruce and I think if they were getting these results under Benitez they would be far happier. Part of it is that lingering resentment that Benitez was allowed to leave and didn’t get the money to spend that Bruce has.
“But purely based on results he’s doing a fine job.”
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