Steve Bruce didn’t do himself any favours in his press conference today when he gave a completely different explanation about Jetro Willems’ introduction into the game against Arsenal last week.
Willems was subbed on after 54 minutes and moved into the central midfield position. After a couple of minutes, and with Bruce raging on the sideline, Willems moved out to the left and Matt Ritchie came into the middle.
Four minutes later, Willems didn’t react to a pass from Paul Dummett and Arsenal scored the only goal of the game.
At the time Bruce said it was miscommunication and that Willems was always meant to play out on the left.
However, in his pre-match press conference today (as quoted by Daily Mail journalist Craig Hope), Bruce had another take on the incident. He said that he brought Willems on in central midfield but changed his mind as he felt it was unfair on the player.
We’re not sure what this means – it’s a position that Willems played in 11 times last season for Eintracht Frankfurt. But if you do think it’s unfair, why would you put him there in the first place? It’s confusing at best and inept at worst. Either way it’s yet another blunder from Bruce who needs to start thinking about what he’s going to say more carefully.
Steve Bruce says he did bring on Jetro Willems in central midfield last week but changed his mind “very quickly” because it was “unfair” on the player. Willems was moved to left back within one minute of coming on & was one of those at fault for Arsenal’s winner one minute later.
— Craig Hope (@CraigHope_DM) August 16, 2019
As you can imagine, Newcastle fans aren’t having any of this. One asked whether Bruce was actually fit to manage a football club and said he “almost” feels sorry for him. Another said that Bruce’s story keeps changing but that the club needs to draw a line under the incident now.
Here are the best reactions from Newcastle fans:
What is this amateur football ? This is going to get embarrassing for the poor bloke , so out of his depth it’s a joke, #NUFC #ashleyout https://t.co/0tscYjJOmc
— Chris Burr (@christofburr) August 16, 2019
Can you imagine Rafa saying out loud or even thinking that it’s “unfair” to play someone in a position they DO know but is maybe not their preferred choice, just because it’s their debut! A mistake that cost a valuable point.
Tells you all you need to know. #NUFC #Bruce
Jeez, these sort of amateurish errors are going to be a recurring theme this season.
— Lewis (@lewyakers) August 16, 2019
Inept doesn’t describe it.
— Steve (@toontoon999) August 16, 2019
Why are people surprised ???? You know what you are getting when your club has zero ambition and appoint this failed manager
— Mark (@mja1980) August 16, 2019
The sort of thing that happens on a Sunday morning down the park. It was an absolute shambles when he started to make changes
— Stu Renton (@lRodneyTrotterl) August 16, 2019
Another Steve Bruce managerial masterclass. Before Villa played Sheffield Wednesday, he identified Forestieri as their dangerman without realising that he was suspended. The man is a lazy bluffer.
— Simon Smith (@mistersimons) August 16, 2019
That’s pathetic man management to come out and say that to be honest and concerning that he “changed his mind” This storey has changed loads and we need to just draw a line under it now and move on. Spurs away after Norwich so need a result tomorrow.
— hally180 (@pckrc) August 16, 2019
How is this man fit to manage a football club? Never mind a PL one. Almost feel sorry for him. Completely useless.
— Aato (@elAato) August 16, 2019