Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Brighton highlighted just how far Newcastle United have to go under Steve Bruce.
The Magpies were outplayed for the majority of the game at St James’ Park, as the Seagulls finished the match with 71% – an embarrassing stat when playing in front of your home fans against a team in a similar position in the Premier League.
Newcastle’s football hasn’t exactly set the league alight in the opening couple of months of the season, as Bruce couldn’t settle on a style of play that suited his side.
The Magpies started with a midfield three, a system that led to attacking duo, Miguel Almiron and Joelinton being majorly isolated, given Newcastle little threat going forward.
A decision to take one player out of midfield and use a front-three definitely helped, and played a big role in their 1-0 victory over Tottenham.
Bruce definitely still needs to prove himself as the manager of the club. with many fans still boycotting home fixtures due to the ownership of Mike Ashley and his decision to appoint the former Sunderland man.
Writing in a Q&A on the Chronicle website (24/09 12:53 pm), journalist Ciaran Kelly outlined how Ashley is a big admirer of Bruce and revealed his hopes for the boss.
“The Magpies will certainly give him plenty of time,” he wrote responding to a question of Bruce’s tenure.
“Mike Ashley, for one, is a big fan and even hopes Bruce is ‘the one’.”
Big fan or not, Newcastle have only averaged 37.7% possession per game this season according to WhoScored, and if that continues, they will find it nearly impossible to string together a run of positive results.
Midway through the game against Brighton, midfielder Isaac Hayden reportedly had an outburst, calling for Bruce to adapt his system as they were simply being outplayed – something you would expect your manager to realise and change without one of his players having to challenge him.
Ashley is surely clutching at straws with his hopes for Bruce, who has yet to prove that he is capable of turning the table at St James’ Park and consistently deliver positive results.