A source close to the Newcastle United dressing room has urged the need to build an identity, according to The Atheltic.
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With Eddie Howe now officially appointed as Steve Bruce’s permanent replacement, work can now begin on what would be quite the rescue mission. Winless after 11 games, the former Bournemouth manager certainly has his work cut out in trying to keep Newcastle in the Premier League.
Indeed, the team have the second-lowest expected points in the division (7.47, via UnderStat) and, while some may sniff at ‘expected points’, no one has won fewer actual points thus far. In the club’s history, this has been the worst ever start to a campaign.
Who is to blame?
While Bruce managed to keep Newcastle up during his two full seasons in charge, his team were incredibly lucky to remain in the Premier League during the 2019/20 campaign, amassing the third-lowest expected points in the division at the time (31.92), which would indicate that things have not been right for a while.
Clearly, he has to take his share of the blame for that, along with former Mike Ashley, who refused to offer much in the way of investment to improve things.
What did the dressing room source say?
The report quotes their source as saying: “Identity is so important; probably the most important thing. Newcastle don’t have one.
“We can’t impose our authority onto games because nobody knows how. We don’t have a stock game plan. Steve used to gamble and see if something worked, and he would use it until it didn’t work any more, like at the end of last season and the start of this one, and then change.
“We never really had an identity. What chance have you got?”
What is Eddie Howe’s style of play?
Although Howe was relegated at Bournemouth in 2020, few would deny that he did a brilliant job of taking them up through the divisions, introducing an attacking and progressive identity along the way.
“His style is exciting and fast-paced,” said former Bournemouth captain Tommy Elphick to BBC Sport.
“We always went to win the game whether it was against Manchester City in the Premier League or Oldham in League One. When we were in front, we wouldn’t stop.
“There may be teething problems – he will ask the centre-backs to split, midfielders to drop in, and put an onus on goalkeepers to use their feet. But it’s not boring to watch. We went with a purpose to attack and score goals.”