Last week against Brighton, Steve Bruce went to a back four by moving Jetro Willems into the midfield. Brighton had enjoyed far too much possession, and Newcastle just couldn’t get the ball off of them.
The plan to have the three forwards press did not quite work as they were bypassed far too easily, leaving the midfield exposed. Bruce belatedly tried to sort out the trouble, but the lads never could get it fully rectified.
In an interview yesterday with Sky Sports, Steve Bruce was asked if he would consider going to a back four at some point this season.
Steve Bruce– How many at the back, Steve?
Steve’s answer is based on two factors – familiarity and depth. This is his response to the question:
“Yes, 100 per cent. But if you look at what I’ve inherited we’ve got six centre-halves at the club and the club have played with three centre-backs. But it’s something we’ll look at, yes.
“In the Premier League now, I think you need the ability to change. The top clubs change. Spurs, in particular, have played a back three and very quickly change into a back four. So, it’s something you can have up your sleeve.
“We switched to a back four against Brighton and we were much, much better and it’s given me plenty of food for thought going forward.”
Newcastle’s strongest position is easily at center-back with five quality players already battling for just three places. That number will increase to six once Florian Lejeune returns from his knee injury.
Having Paul Dummett in the side makes a tactical switch to a back four more fluid. We saw this against Brighton. It is something that we hope Bruce will continue to work on during training.
With flexible players like Paul Dummett, Florian Lejeune, and Fabian Schar at the back, Bruce has a lot to work with. Lejeune and Schar can always push into a defensive midfield role during a game if a need arises.
We are glad that Bruce is considering all of the options he has available to him. He has some versatile players who can switch roles when needed. Steve should look to take advantage of that this season.