Danny Mills has suggested that Steve Bruce is treating the Newcastle United players like children after it was reported that he cancelled training on Monday in the wake of the 5-0 demolition at the hands of Leicester.
According to a report by the Guardian, Bruce was so furious with his squad that he did not want to see them the day after the defeat at the King Power and ordered players to stay at home and not turn up to training.
Although Sky Sports pundit Mills understands that it remains to be seen whether or not Bruce’s approach will work, he has claimed that the Magpies boss is basically giving his players the cold shoulder in a similar way that a parent would to a naughty child.
“Sometimes you’re trying to find any which way you can to find a reaction. Shouting and screaming isn’t always the best way,” Mills told Football Insider.
“It’s effectively ignoring somebody, isn’t it? Like the parents saying to the child: ‘I’m disappointed in you. I’m disappointed in you, go and think about your behaviour.’
“Maybe that might work and if that works, then great. He’s clearly trying everything he can to try and get a performance out of them. It’s one of those performances where Steve Bruce has to come in and say: ‘Write it off, we forget that performance, it happened, it’s gone, we move forward.’”
As Mills eludes to, it is hard to say whether or not Bruce has taken the right approach with his players. Cancelling training on Monday could be seen in two ways. It’s either given the players a chance to look themselves in the mirror after a truly appalling display at Leicester, or the players could just have taken that day as a chance to go out with the family, do some shopping or go sight-seeing. It all depends on the player but you would imagine that some of the more senior players, such as Jamaal Lascelles and Paul Dummett, would have been doing the former, rather than the latter. Bruce should have been able to tell what kind of reaction the players had to his decision in training this week and fans might get a good idea of the personality of certain players based on the team selection against Manchester United on Sunday. As long as Bruce reverts to his old back-three system, personnel is less of a priority.