During yesterday’s press conference, Steve Bruce gave a terse response to what Michael Chopra had said earlier in the week. He also referenced the media storm over Paul Dummett’s comment on the warm-up before the Norwich match.
There were some other comments made that didn’t quite get the attention. They were by substitute Yoshinori Muto, who after the game against Norwich, said the following:
“It was really hard. I felt isolated, and I was always surrounded by three or four opponents.
“As a forward, that was very tough. As a team, we struggled overall.
“When I was watching in the first half, I was expecting it to be difficult when I came on because Joelinton was struggling as well.
“Pukki got a hat-trick, and he reacted well on the counter-attack.
“It is the sort of image that I’d like to provide for my team.”
As with the situation with Paul Dummett, we don’t believe that Muto had any sinister motives in what he said. He was only relaying his experience of the match when asked about it. His comments were very accurate.
Though in these times of ultra-scrutiny, his comments caused a little bit of a stir. Though nothing to the extent of Chopra’s or Dummett’s.
Darren Bent in Football Insider has given the following response to what Muto said:
“It’s never good because it’s like he’s blaming Bruce’s tactics. I get what he means by being isolated.
“That’s something you have a conversation with your manager, say that the way that you’re playing, you’re not going to score goals. Him coming out and saying that, he’s putting a little bit more pressure on the manager.
“Then Newcastle fans will be like: ‘See, it’s Bruce’s fault, even the players don’t like his tactics,’ and it’s just another unnecessary problem that they don’t need.”
While we don’t think Muto said anything wrong necessarily, we also understand what Darren Bent is saying here. He is looking at the impact Muto’s comments have had on his former Sunderland manager.
He is correct that this is a problem Bruce does not need right now. Even if Muto’s comments were innocuous, they did cause a bit of a stir. Right now, even the slightest hint of criticism towards Bruce will be used against him tenfold. Some of it is justified, but some of it is just unnecessary.