When Steve Bruce joined Newcastle on July 17th, a principal concern of ours was with the mental state of the players. Mike Ashley had disconcertingly failed to agree to a new contract for a manager with towering credentials. The glaring reason for this failure was because that manager, Rafa Benitez, had the nerve to be ambitious.
The day of Rafa’s departure saw many players take to Twitter to offer their gratitude to a giant of the game. A manager who had made most of them much better at their craft.
So when Steve Bruce came in, we feared the players would suffer from the same listlessness that we felt. However, much to our consolation, it did not take long for the leaders of the club to put forth statements in support of the new manager.
After a few weeks of having trained under Steve Bruce, the players were even more forthright in their conviction that they were fully behind this manager.
One of the players who was the first to praise Bruce was Jonjo Shelvey. Shelvey gave an interview after the 1-0 win against West Ham in the Premier League Asia Trophy in which he gushed with praise for the new Head Coach’s managerial style. Shelvey, it seems, likes a manager who will let him know everything he is thinking.
Jonjo has made some more comments this morning about Steve Bruce and his managerial style. He also thinks that some of the criticism leveled at the club is a bit unfair. This is what Shelvey has said in the Chronicle about his head coach:
“It is enjoyable, and I want to see him do well. As a player, he is putting his arm around you if you don’t make the team or make the squad. When that happens, you want them to do well and stay here.
“Eventually he will stick by you because you’ve stuck by him. The criticism the club are getting at the start of the season is just stupidity. It is embarrassing, really. But the lads answered back against a very good Tottenham team.
“We go to Liverpool after that, and we know it won’t be easy. We know we need to beat the teams in and around you, home and away. But if you can nick anything off the big boys, that’s a bonus.”
They did nick a nice win at Tottenham under very dire circumstances. The mood surrounding the club after the Norwich defeat was very unpleasant, to say the least. However, the players and coaches stuck together to formulate a winning plan at Spurs.
That win halted some of the streams of negativity flowing to the club. However, some of the criticism of the club is justified and will continue.
The players and Steve Bruce just need to concentrate on getting it right on the pitch. That is the only area they have control over. After a decent start, they face possibly the toughest fixture of the season.
The focus should be on Liverpool away this week. Despite the difficulty of the fixture, they still need to show up and put in a performance.