There’s no doubt that it has been a rough start to his career as Newcastle United head coach for Steve Bruce, and Sunday was the nadir.
The Magpies were humiliated 5-0 by Leicester City at the King Power Stadium in a gutless, woeful team performance. However, the Toon boss doesn’t seem to understand quite the reasons for the defeat.
His recent comment on the game has shown that: “What have I done? What have we done this week?,” he said, as per The Chronicle. “We changed to a back four to see if we are not comfortable with it. Tactics and all this nonsense, the big thing is to have a go and show some pride.”
Look, you can see what Bruce is trying to get at with this remark. He is saying that before tactics and everything else, the players have to go out and put 100% effort in, something they emphatically failed to do against the Foxes.
However, the fact that he has termed it ‘tactics and all this nonsense’ is clear evidence that the former Sheffield Wednesday chief is out of his depth at St James’ Park.
The difference between him and former head coach Rafael Benitez was stark to begin with, but after this comment it’s like night and day.
The Spaniard is a tactical genius, capable of setting even this abject Newcastle side up in a shape so solid and so organised that they beat the champions Manchester City last January.
That simply would not happen under Bruce, make no mistake about it. Bruce’s decision to switch from the back five that Benitez implemented on Tyneside to a flat back four against Leicester proved disastrous, with even goalkeeper Martin Dubravka telling The Chronicle on Thursday that it simply ‘didn’t work’.
Yes, the players deserved criticism for the dirge they served up at the King Power, but Bruce needs to look himself in the mirror as well. He got it way wrong on Sunday.