The players have been fully behind Steve Bruce since he joined. Which is why the performance at Norwich was so disappointing. They had no such letdown on Sunday as they played their hearts out for Steve and the fans against Tottenham.
The team put in the work this week as Steve Bruce implemented a new system. The plan worked out perfectly as it stifled Spurs but allowed for Newcastle to get some chances on the counter. Bruce was also a little coy in his press conference when he specifically said it was too early to radically change the formation.
One player who will benefit from the change of formation is Christian Atsu. He made his season debut in the 15th minute coming on for the injured Allan Saint-Maximin.
Christian has just recently returned to training since his suffering an injury during the Africa Cup of Nations in July. Christian would not have been involved much with the 3-5-2 system that Bruce had been using since his arrival. Steve Bruce said after the Spurs game that he’s only just seen the 27-year-old this week.
Christian Atsu – bursting down the wing
The formation Bruce implemented at Tottenham really suits Atsu with him being an out and out winger. There was no ideal place for him in Bruce’s original formation as it utilized wing-backs for width down the flanks.
While Atsu has only recently come back into the fold, he has had some positive things to say, similarly to his teammates, about the new coach. He also seems very willing to do whatever it takes to help the team.
Here are some of Christian’s comments after the game as published in the Shields Gazette.
“The formation worked. We defended well. We’re a very good team. This is going to change a lot of things for the players and the fans.
“The season is a long season, so we just need to carry on. Any formation that he wants to play, we are behind him. We’re going to give everything.
“The atmosphere’s very good. Even when we lost the two games, he was very confident. I can say, gradually, we’re really understanding his gameplan. We’re very organised and always behind him. This is going to change the atmosphere.”
There has definitely been a lift since yesterday’s unanticipated victory. The atmosphere will be much lighter for sure. However, the lads need to continue to work hard and we think they will do just that. Steve Bruce is very experienced so he will hopefully know which buttons to push to keep the group focused for the two games this week.