The outspoken pundit while on BBC Radio 5 (Sunday, August 25th, 18:30) lashed out at Magpies fans as he claimed all he was hearing off them was that Bruce had simply beaten Tottenham with Rafa Benitez’s side.
“Bruce has gone to the new stadium and won 1-0 against a Spurs side who got to the Champions League final last year, yet all I’m hearing off Newcastle fans is that it’s Rafa’s team, nonsense,” said Savage on BBC Radio 5 (August 25th, 18:30).
Yet while Savage claimed Newcastle fans were the ones not giving Bruce the credit, Michael Owen had a different take on the situation.
While predicting the Magpies to overcome Watford on Saturday, the former Magpies forward suggested it was the press who hadn’t rightly covered Bruce with plaudits.
“Had Rafa Benitez engineered such an outstanding smash and grab at Tottenham on Sunday the press would have been lauding the Spanish boss as a tactical genius. Steve Bruce deserves great credit for his side’s brilliant defensive display,” wrote Owen for BetVictor.
Owen clearly believes the press would have given previous Magpies boss Benitez more praise for overcoming Spurs and while that is debatable, the pundit clearly thinks that if anyone undersold Bruce’s part in the surprise win over Tottenham, it wasn’t the Newcastle’s fanbase.
Owen’s remarks clearly undermine Savage claim that it’s Newcastle fans who didn’t give Bruce the deserve credit, and it fair to say the ex-Magpies forward has indirectly protected Magpies supporters from unwarranted criticism.
No one expected the Magpies to beat Tottenham away from home last Sunday as after all not only did Spurs finish fourth last season, Newcastle finished 13th, but they were so good that they ended up reaching the Champions League final.
So there were plenty of Newcastle fans who thought Bruce did well in order to overcome Spurs and gave him the credit he deserved.
Newcastle may have only seen 20% of the ball against Spurs, as per the BBC, but that simply highlighted what a shift several members of the Magpies’ team put in order to keep a clean sheet and walk away with three points.
Also given that Savage previously publicly highlighted the negativity surrounding Bruce’s appointment in the Mirror, which seemed a reference to fan reaction, you feel his comments were rightly undermined by Owen as he just seemed to want to take a dig at the Newcastle fanbase for some reason.