Charlie Nicholas has claimed that Steve Bruce is unable to go against Mike Ashley in the way that former Newcastle United Rafa Benitez manager did and that is going to attract consistent criticism from the fans.
Bruce was hired in the summer to replace the popular Spaniard and the ex-Sunderland boss is seen as more of a ‘yes man’ by sections of the Newcastle support who have been against his arrival.
Although it was a poor start to the campaign by Bruce and his players, they impressed last week with a shock 1-0 win against last season’s Champions League finalists Tottenham.
And Nicholas has predicted that the Magpies will pick up back-to-back league wins by beating Watford 1-0 at St James’ Park when the two sides meet on Saturday afternoon.
“It was a very nice result for Newcastle last weekend, may I say! The stick that was aimed at the players and Steve Bruce will be there consistently. The fans want the owner out and they will continue to strive for this. Rafael Benitez was softly going against the owner, which Steve Bruce cannot do in his situation really,” said Nicholas on the Sky Sports website.
“His team worked hard and Joelinton got his campaign off to a start. If they could go and win this weekend, against a team that are toiling, then this will be great. Watford have had a shocker of a start, and there is always the question as to how much time Javi Gracia is given. They got to the FA Cup final last season. Who will be the foot soldiers for Watford? Abdoulaye Doucoure has not started in great fashion. Where have Gerard Deulofeu and Roberto Pereyra been? They started like a train last season.”
Watford have had a miserable start to the season, losing all three games, and while Newcastle did suffer a penalty shoot-out defeat against Leicester on Wednesday night, not many of their regular starters featured so most will be well-rested in time for Saturday. It will be interesting to see how the players do after that win against Tottenham. It should boost their confidence but playing against a team down in the dumps like Watford could be an altogether completely different test. Gracia might be fighting for his job at Vicarage Road and certain players will more than likely step up and play out of their skins because of that. In a way, this game could be a lot tougher than the Spurs one because there is a lot more pressure on the Magpies to pick up all three points. A draw won’t be great but it won’t be terrible. A defeat will once again raise serious questions about Bruce.