We have really been impressed with the way the players have taken to Steve Bruce since his arrival. Many players have expressed their happiness with his appointment and how they are ready to move forward under him.
One area that has come up often when players have talked about Steve is with his training sessions. They have spoken about how they are very tough but enjoyable.
Jonjo Shelvey famously spoke about how Steve Bruce had the players take a long run leading up to a pre-season match. After that match, Shelvey said he thought he would be knackered during the game but actually felt really good.
Steve Bruce’s training sessions have been much different than Rafa’s from what the players have said. They appear to be enjoying them more, but that is not always effective.
Rafa Benitez was a clinical tactician who accounted for every situation that could arise during a match. He used the time on the training ground to get the players ready through constant repetition. This could lead to very dull sessions for the players, but it was extremely effective.
Since Steve Bruce has come in, the sessions have most likely became more open and less reliant on constant repetition. This could be what has accounted for the enjoyable training experience the players have spoken of. While this is still effective, it puts more responsibility on the players’ decision making during matches.
These contrasting styles will also bleed into the tactics during a match. Rafa Benitez expected players to play exactly how he had instructed them during training. Steve Bruce will give his players a little more freedom and self-determination on the pitch.
Isaac Hayden– enjoying the new management style
Isaac Hayden has come out and spoken a bit about the difference in the playing styles between the two managers. While he does not reference Benitez directly, it’s very apparent who he is talking about.
In the Chronicle, Hayden made the following comments:
“Under previous managers we have been a lot more defensive and solid but still ended up losing games.
“We lost tight games when being defensive.
“But against Arsenal, we took the game to them and took a few more gambles.
“It paid off to an extent.
“If it wasn’t for good saves from their keeper and our final balls, it could have been different.”
We really enjoyed the way Benitez had the team set up, especially in tough away matches. It was not always easy to watch, but we admired its necessity in getting a result. That is solely what mattered to Rafa. He didn’t really care if it was enjoyable or not.
Bruce seems to be putting more emphasis on playing open football. He is still only one game into his Newcastle career, so it remains to be seen how he approaches certain matches. But the echoes emanating from the club are that attacking football will be back this season. Whether that is successful remains to be seen.