Steve Bruce spoke a bit about the team’s recent form over the past few weeks in which Newcastle have managed to get draws but played very poorly.
That is especially the case in the last two matches, both at home, against League One’s Oxford United and Norwich City, who are 20th in the Premier League.
Bruce was asked about how he can get his team to play more on the front foot, and if that was something he would consider.
“I’ve said from day one I’d love to play two up top. I just don’t think we’re ready just yet with what we’ve got.
“I won’t just change just for the sake of it. We’ve got to make sure that, in time, we will evolve.
“I’ve said all along maybe I won’t get the time, but that’s my aim. That’s what we’ll try and do.
“It was this time last year that the team went to a back five because before that, let’s be fair, they couldn’t win a corner.
“That’s where we’re at, at the moment, so we’ll stay with it.”
Bruce has experimented with having two players up top this season. He, of course, started the season playing that way but abandoned the system after the 3-1 Norwich defeat in the second week.
He again tried it against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium, but in that match went with a flat back four. The result was disastrous as we had our heaviest defeat of the campaign losing 5-0, though Isaac Hayden was sent off late in the first half.
Andy Carroll and Joelinton also started the Crystal Palace match as a front two before Joelinton was moved to the right wing.
Unfortunately, Bruce is probably reluctant to transition from five at the back even against Oxford tomorrow. That is despite agreeing that they are a team Newcastle should dominate.
“It’s been difficult to dominate, and we are not in that situation where we can dominate anyone.
“I hope we can go to Oxford, like when we went to Rochdale, and totally dominate them, but in this league, where we are at the moment, it hasn’t been possible.”
Bruce was also asked about the transfer market once again. Newcastle did bring in three quality signings in Nabil Bentaleb, Valentino Lazaro, and Danny Rose but failed to bring in another striker despite our current crop having just one league goal between them.
This is how Bruce responded when asked about the striker market during the winter window.
“I think I’ve answered it so many times now. Ok, we didn’t score again. It’s been a problem we’ve had all season.
“However, I’ll stick with what I’ve said all the time. If there’s somebody better, then we would try and act.
“The cynics will say ‘Well, somebody’s got to be better than what you’re showing at the minute.’ I think we’ve still got some decent players to come in.
“I’ve got no regrets. There was nobody out there who we could realistically get, who would make us better.”
The keyword that Bruce used is ‘realistically’ becasue we saw some top strikers move in January. However, they may not have wanted to come to Newcastle.
We should have Andy Carroll, Dwight Gayle, and Yoshinori Muto back for Arsenal in two weeks. Unfortunately, both Valentino Lazaro and Danny Rose are not eligible for the Oxford match. Though they will be against West Brom in the fifth round if we can get past Oxford tomorrow.
What Will Be The Result Against Oxford In The FA Cup Replay?
- Win (57%, 1,620 )
- Loss (43%, 1,202 )
Total Voters: 2,822
How Did You Rate Newcastle's January Transfer Window?
- Average (48%, 1,708 )
- Poor (33%, 1,176 )
- Good (18%, 647 )
Total Voters: 3,531