Steve Bruce is pondering a switch to a more conservative formation ahead of his side’s visit to Tottenham, according to the Chronicle.
Newcastle have been playing a 3-5-2 in pre-season and in the first two Premier League games but have lost both, 1-0 to Arsenal and 3-1 to Norwich.
Bruce is expecting a double boost, though, with both Joelinton and 22-year-old Allan Saint-Maximin in contention for the game on Sunday.
Joelinto is expected to be fit to play while Saint-Maximin will rejoin training this week and could play if he gest through that without a problem.
Rafa Benitez came in for criticism from some quarters for setting his side up defensively but it was effective and he steered the club to a respectable 13th-place finish last season. There’s a reality in the Premier League and managers have to be pragmatic for certain fixtures. The trip to Tottenham represents the toughest test of the season so far for Newcastle and Bruce will be aware that another heavy defeat would be a catastrophic blow. Criticism of him and his lack of tactical acumen has been growing and getting something out of the Tottenham game would help stem this. The bad news for Newcastle is that Heung-min Son is back after missing the first two games of the season through suspension. It means Newcastle could face a triple threat of Son/Harry Kane and either Lucas Moura or Erik Lamela, and that’s going to stretch the club. It’s tough to see Newcastle getting anything from the game whatever Bruce does.