“t is time to give Steve Bruce the credit he deserves,” he wrote in his Daily Mail column. “After 14 games, Newcastle have 16 points. At the same stage under Rafa Benitez last season, they had 12. They had a go against one of the best teams in the world.
“Yes they only had 23.6 per cent possession but whenever they had the ball, they looked forwards. This was a performance of positivity. Under Benitez, they’d approach these games in more of a negative manner. They’d sit deep. But Bruce wanted to test City. This would have been billed as a Benitez masterclass 12 months ago, so let’s give Bruce credit.”
Redknapp is absolutely spot on, here. Bruce came in to a tough situation at Newcastle, late in pre season, and was having to follow one of the most beloved managers in the country. No one on Tyneside wanted Benitez to go, and fewer even wanted Bruce to follow him. However, you have to look at the job he’s doing at the moment and says it’s been terrific. The football’s not always been the best, but it’s coming along nicely. As Redknapp says, this wasn’t a shut-up-shop kind of performance by the Magpies. Yes, they were defensive and, yes, they didn’t have much possession on Saturday. However, as Redknapp says, what they did have they used well and they made the most of it. Miguel Almiron showed signs of life, while Allan Saint-Maximin was lively and Jonjo Shelvey was superb. Bruce is getting the most out of his players, and he deserves credit for that. He wasn’t the fans’ first choice to replace Benitez, but he’s doing his utmost to turn them around.