Jermaine Jenas has made the bold claim that Steve Bruce has improved Newcastle United since replacing Rafa Benitez in the hotseat at St James’ Park.
Bruce’s arrival in the summer led to major criticism from supporters and despite some decent results this season, a good portion of the fans are still not happy with the former Sunderland boss being in charge.
However, results have started to speak for themselves.
Newcastle are currently 14th in the table with 16 points and are four points clear of the relegation zone. At this stage last season, the Magpies were 15th with 12 points.
Jenas reckons that as the season goes on, Bruce will continue to show that he has made improvements since replacing Benitez.
“You know you’re coming up against a team that is seriously stubborn,” said Jenas after the draw with Man City on BT Sport.
“On Saturday, I can’t fault that defence – I don’t remember them putting a foot wrong. Even when they got through it was bits of brilliance but even then people are throwing bodies at it and the goals they conceded were just out of this world.
“You have to give all that credit to Steve Bruce in my opinion because he’s carried on from what Rafa Benitez did and I actually think he’s improved it. I think they’re more exciting going forward than what Rafa was doing here.
“That’s reflective in the points, we’ll see it at the end of the season.”
Newcastle’s points tally and their league position is better than it was at this stage last season when Benitez was in charge but that does not necessarily mean that things are better under Bruce then they were under the Spaniard. One of the biggest things about being manager of Newcastle is how you can connect with the fans. Newcastle probably hadn’t had a manager as popular as Benitez since the likes of Alan Shearer, Kevin Keegan and even Sir Bobby Robson while Bruce, at the moment, is in the same category as some of those who the Magpies faithful have really hated over the years. Bruce is proving a lot of people wrong in terms of results but he is still not popular among the Toon Army. Jenas claims that the side is more exciting going forward but that is debatable. Everyone enjoyed seeing Salomon Rondon bullying defenders and scoring headers for fun last season. Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron are fast and tricky but their end product is lacking and Joelinton is starting to look like the expensive flop that many predicted him to be.