Mario Melchiot has claimed that he can “guarantee” that there are some Newcastle United players who do not know what manager Steve Bruce wants from them.
The Dutch defender worked under Bruce at Wigan Athletic, and has wasted little time in speaking out over his former boss’ tactical ineptitude.
“Look at the people who are winning the league. You want to tell me that Pep Guardiola has no tactics? You need to understand the game.
“I do believe that the way he wants to affect the team, I guarantee you that at this point there people in the team who don’t understand how he wants to play.”
This is a big claim from Melchiot, but if there is anybody qualified to talk about what Bruce is like as a manager, it is a player who played under him. At the end of the day, Bruce is at an immediate disadvantage based on the fact that he will always be compared to the most meticulous manager the Toon Army have ever had in Rafa Benitez. But even if we disregard the Spaniard as a paragon of organisation, that does not excuse the fact that Bruce seems to have a real haphazard approach to setting his team up. For a club lurching from one mishap to another, they need a steady hand at the wheel, and on the early showings of this season, Bruce may not be that hand. He still has time to turn things around, but unless the Magpies start picking up points quickly and performances improve, he could be in trouble.