He also said Newcastle would have been relegated last season without Ayoze Perez and Salomon Rondon. New signing Joelinton will be tasked with providing the goals in the 19/20 season after his club-record deal this summer.
Newcastle fans have also threatened a boycott, starting with the opening game of the season against Arsenal, but Cascarino thinks Bruce’s biggest challenge will be on the pitch.
“Bruce has taken on a lot of difficult jobs, they’ve all had issues. Villa were a club in turmoil… He’s had all that before but it’s a huge challenge at Newcastle. He’s been on the terraces at St James’ Park and he knows what the fans want.
“His biggest challenge is what he serves up as style. Football is dominated today by teams with adventure, going forward, scoring lots of goals.”
Newcastle fans will have been surprised by the club-record signing of Joelinton but will he be enough to transform the Newcastle team into one capable of swashbuckling play next season? It’s more likely that Bruce will have to take a more pragmatic approach to games in the Premier League, but that’s no different to his predecessor Benitez. Some of the football played under Benitez last season was effective but pretty awful to watch. Fans may have to accept that setting the team up not to lose will be a part of Bruce’s gameplan next season and it would be unfair to put that solely at his door. However, Cascarino has a point and Bruce will be judged on how he approaches the games that Newcastle will be expecting to get points from. Bruce has a tough start to the season, hosting Arsenal, and a draw would be a good result. Arsenal have one of the league’s most fearsome attacks, and could add winger Nicolas Pepe to Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the coming days. Bruce will know that they’re vulnerable at the back, though, so there could be plenty of goals in the season opener.