Daily Mail journalist Craig Hope said that the body language displayed by the Newcastle players during the 3-1 defeat against Norwich was “really alarming”.
Newcastle lost their second successive Premier League game under new manager Steve Bruce on Saturday after a hat-trick from Teemu Pukki.
Talking on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast show (talkSPORT, Tuesday, 8am) Hope added that what he’d seen from the Newcastle players and Bruce so far this season has “not been good enough”.
“What was really alarming was the body language in the game against Norwich,” Hope said.
“When you’ve got Bruce saying afterwards that the players hadn’t put their boots on, that’s a real problem after two games.
“The loss of Perez and Rondon is big for Newcastle. The squad isn’t better than last year. You cannot remove Rondon and Perez, who scored half the team’s goals last season, and expect the team to be better.
“After looking at the first two games Joelinton is going to need a lot of time to get up to speed. One thing I would say is that he [Bruce] is probably playing the best system he can to get the most from the squad.
“All of the criticism has been a reaction to what we’ve seen in the last two games and it’s not been good enough from either a team or a management perspective.”
Bruce is under a huge amount of pressure already, after losing his first two games in charge of the club. Comparisons have been made to the slow start Rafa Benitez made last season but there’s a big difference. Benitz had the support of the fans, Bruce doesn’t. Given that, the one thing he can’t afford to happen is to lose the players. Storm clouds are gathering though. Bruce criticised the attitude of his players after the game, saying he couldn’t forgive a performance where his players didn’t put their boots on. And, as Hope said, the body language wasn’t good during the game. After the defeat Yoshinori Muto hit out at Bruce’s tactics saying that he felt isolated during the game. Given all of this, the last thing Bruce needs at the moment is an away game at Tottenham, but that’s where his players head next for the late kick-off on Sunday. Another defeat will pile even more pressure on the beleaguered manager.