After a game in which the Newcastle players let their heads drop, we eventually lost the game on Sunday 5-0 at Leicester City.
And we have to go back to the incompetent era of Steve McClaren four years ago to get a worse result.
McClaren lost three games 6-1 (at Man City), 5-1 (at Crystal Palace) and 5-1 (at Chelsea) in our relegation season when the players basically also gave up the chase in those games.
Those three games gave us -13 in goal difference – not good.
We all know (as did Rafa) that goal difference can be the sole difference in being relegated or staying in the Premier League.
The news is that Steve Bruce got stuck into the players after the game in the dressing room.
And so he should – because if we play more games like those against Leicester, Brighton, and Norwich, we will definitely be going down this season.
We are already the out-and-out favorites to be relegated.
There was also a terse meeting with Lee Charnley and Steve Bruce shortly after the game – it would be interesting to hear what was said.
Steve Bruce – we’ve let everybody down
Steve Bruce was interviewed by BBC Match of the Day, and those comments are in the Chronicle today – this is some of what the Newcastle manager said:
“I’ll analyze myself like I always do.” “What have I done? What have we done this week?”
“We changed to a back four to see if we are not comfortable with it.”
“Tactics and all this nonsense, the big thing is to have a go and show some pride.”
“Unfortunately we’ve let everybody down.”
“That’s my job (to yield the axe when necessary) as always.” “You have to go back to basics.”
“There are four or five who are itching to play, and I will look at that.”
Bruce has had a rough ride as Newcastle manager since he took over after leaving Sheffield Wednesday in mid-July.
And he again has talked about how he knew the job on Tyneside would be challenging:
“I always knew it was a challenge and was delighted to take it.” “I knew it would be difficult.”
“Let’s hope we can turn around, I have the appetite to turn it around, so I will do my best.”
“The one thing I always pride myself on is getting together a team that is as honest and genuine as can be.””I’ve only been here a few weeks of course.”
“But you learn on performances and games like Leicester.”
“Certainly we haven’t done enough so the only way we can respond is to roll our sleeves up, go to the training ground and try to do the basics better.”
“Defensively, where we have been pretty much OK, we were all over the place.” “There’s a lot to work on.”
“We made too many mistakes and gave bad goals away.” “Towards the end there was a lack of effort for the fans who’d made the journey down there.”
“We can’t keep taking them for granted.”
We don’t like to be too hard on Bruce because he’s having a really tough time of it.
But he can be accused of taking a good defense and making (unnecessary) changes, and it becomes a leaky defense.
The players are comfortable playing five at the back, and we feel sure that’s what the manager will play against Manchester United on Sunday afternoon.
We need a win in that game to get our fans back onside.
It’s been yet another very tough season so far; every season since the summer of 2014, we have been fighting relegation from the Premier League.
The only exception to that was when we were in the Championship in 2016-2017 and got an instant promotion.
We’d love to see the Longstaff brothers in central midfield on Sunday, but that may cause a lack of experience against Manchester United.
So Ki Sung-yueng may get the start alongside Sean Longstaff; a potential Manchester United target in January.
And Bruce cannot allow many more insipid performances from his team.
Our strength over the last three seasons has been founded on the never-say-die attitude of the players.
It’s also been founded on the undying support of our fans, but at home this season, fans are staying away because of the boycott.
If the players don’t care, then our goose could well be cooked.
We cannot allow Lee Charnley to keep Steve as manager too long if things go pear-shaped.
Charnley did precisely that with Steve McClaren, and we paid for it with another relegation.
There are some decent managers available at the moment.
But some may have too much ambition for Mike Ashley; some may even want to build a top Newcastle side.
Of course, we haven’t given up on Steve Bruce, and we really hope he can turn this thing around with 100% support and help from the players.
We need to stay a Premier League club come next May, and hope somebody who has the money and ambition comes in to buy the club.
That seems our only hope to rid us of Mike Ashley – an albatross around the neck of this great club.