The key difference between Newcastle United head coach Steve Bruce and his predecessor Rafael Benitez is the latter’s intensity on the training ground, according to journalist Lee Ryder.
The Spaniard is famed for his tactical acumen, something he took with him when he left St James’ Park this summer. In the wake of Sunday’s 5-0 humiliation at Leicester City, Ryder has pointed out the number one change from him to Bruce.
“The big difference is under Rafa he would drill it into players – six, seven, eight times a training session and five or six days a week,” he told The Chronicle podcast, as per the newspaper’s news and transfer centre [02/10; 12:07]. “So they were hearing it in their heads by the end of it.
“He would even do that with the media, he would keep saying the same theme over and over again until the same people were almost writing it, and doing it the way he wanted to do it. If Steve Bruce is just saying it once on the training ground then for some players it’ll go in one ear and out the other, and on a match-day they would have completely forgotten about it.”
We all know that Benitez is a tactical genius and a defensive mastermind. We saw last season that, despite a somewhat negative style of football, Newcastle were rarely blown away in the manner that Bruce’s team were by the Foxes last time out. It certainly seemed under him that everybody knew their jobs and, even if it wasn’t always nice to watch, they generally got the job done. The team certainly enjoyed a strong second half of the campaign, that’s for sure. Under Bruce, though, Newcastle don’t look anywhere near as organised as they did under Benitez – that’s just a fact. As Ryder says, the Spaniard hammered things into the heads of his players so that they all knew what they were doing come game day. As for Bruce, he’ll seemingly say things once and then think it’s been understood unequivocally. That’s not necessarily a criticism of him, it’s just that he’s a different coach to the Dalian Yifang boss.