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Bruce Names Two Players Who Have ‘To Play Well In This System’

Newcastle have not been defeated in their last four Premier League games which is the longest unbeaten streak of the season. That stretches to seven games in you include the FA Cup ties.

Only two of the matches were wins with one of those being against League One Rochdale in an FA Cup replay. Of all the seven games, only the Wolves draw and the Rochdale win could be considered good performances.

Steve Bruce spoke at length yesterday about the problems that Newcastle are having, particularly in the final third. The Northern Echo have published some comments by Bruce about how vital to the counter-attacking system both Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron are.

“We haven’t been more entertaining, that’s the wrong word, but we have played well in this system.

“To play well in this system, our two best players, Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin, have to play well and on Saturday and last week, they didn’t play well enough. Allan is just coming back from a hamstring, so he’ll be better.

“If we play that way with what we’ve got, we are deep, we defend deep for a reason, but you can’t be entertaining in that.

“You can be better in that system. Let’s be fair, Wolves play exactly the same way as we do, so do Sheffield United, similar anyway, Aston Villa have gone to a back three or a five if you wish, so we’ve had a bad week in terms of we didn’t play well enough.”

Allan Saint-Maximin doesn’t seem to have reached full fitness just yet from his second hamstring injury. After the first Oxford match last week, he admitted his performance wasn’t up to par and that he was going to work hard to make it right.

He was better against Norwich on Saturday but still faded late in the game before being replaced by Danny Rose.

Miguel Almiron also hasn’t been at his best recently. He was on an excellent goal-scoring run with three in three games from both Rochdale matches and draw at Wolves, but that has dried up over the past four matches.

Hopefully, Bruce can get both Allan and Miguel back on track soon as well as draft Valentino Lazaro into the mix on the right. Lazaro can beat his man and put in quality crosses, which is something this team is lacking at the moment.

72 comments so far

  • fairscup

    Feb 4, 2020 at 1:43 PM

    Comment #1

    Just need someone who can actually head a ball straight now then.

  • TomaKaThor

    Feb 4, 2020 at 1:43 PM

    Comment #2

    Saint Max isn’t a miracle worker, he was the only one last week who looked like scoring, but if he did it would of all been down to an individual effort… there is almost no point trying to play the ball into the box because Joelinton just has no idea where or when to make runs

  • fairscup

    Feb 4, 2020 at 1:45 PM

    Comment #3

    Maxi has yet to prove to me that he can shoot – pathetic efforts from outside the box are useless, better off laying it off.

  • TomaKaThor

    Feb 4, 2020 at 1:47 PM

    Comment #4

    And tbh i see it only as a matter of time before Saint Max gets fed up of playing in this team.. Already seen his frustration come through a few times

  • cyprus

    Feb 4, 2020 at 1:48 PM

    Comment #5

    Perspective: as Ed says, this season we were expecting to be relegated.

    We haven’t lost for seven games we are on 31 points, need maybe three wins.

    The football has been hard to watch, granted, but it has been this exact way for a few years now. It’s been about survival for a long time, I accept that.

    When we get those three wins then I’ll expect all guns blazing, not before that. We’re not quite there yet.

    For instance, at Arsenal we hardly ever win! Robert 3-1, Andy 1-0 and …? I fully expect a loss, but you never know with this group.

    Tonight? I don’t care how, just win lads.

  • fairscup

    Feb 4, 2020 at 1:53 PM

    Comment #6

    If the players imagine Oxford wearing red & white stripes we should be OK – they are the same level so imagine the embarressment if we lose.

  • toon kk

    Feb 4, 2020 at 1:54 PM

    Comment #7

    You could put a world class striker in our team, yes he’d score more goals but the quality around him is missing so his service would be too.
    Hopefully our loan singings will give us a boost.

  • fairscup

    Feb 4, 2020 at 1:56 PM

    Comment #8

    I heard that the new loan signings are not eligible – anyone know if that is true?

  • RobLeenio

    Feb 4, 2020 at 2:01 PM

    Comment #9

    It’s a shame that Lazaro and Rose are cup tied, I think that their instincts to press forward are stronger than Yedlin’s or Ritchie’s, who always have one eye on the defence. Just a slightly different style, rather than conscious decisions.

    That said, when we played Rochdale at home, the wing backs (Hayden and Ritchie) were pushed right up the pitch, on the edge of the attacking third to receive a ball and looking to play in triangles and move further forward from there. Well, Hayden was, with Krafth pushing aswell. It tended to come apart when Krafth got the ball, a bit.

    Ritchie doesn’t like to advance up the pitch, he prefers to sit deeper and ping in diagonal crosses. These were very effective against Rochdale, but are actually quite easy to counter if you know they are coming.

    It could be tough this evening, though I hope it’s a stroll.

  • RobLeenio

    Feb 4, 2020 at 2:02 PM

    Comment #10

    lol fairscup – there’s your answer, as if on demand.

    Rose and Lazarro were not signed in time for the first match at SJP, so cannot be included in the squad for the replay, though they can both be used in the next round (unless suspended).

  • fairscup

    Feb 4, 2020 at 2:04 PM

    Comment #11

    So what is the ruling Rob? – how are they cup tied?

  • fairscup

    Feb 4, 2020 at 2:05 PM

    Comment #12


  • fairscup

    Feb 4, 2020 at 2:07 PM

    Comment #13

    Well that’s a shame I was looking forward to some penetration from the flanks with quality final balls (not mean’t to be rude!)

  • fairscup

    Feb 4, 2020 at 2:09 PM

    Comment #14

    Yedlin couldn’t cross his fingures.

  • fairscup

    Feb 4, 2020 at 2:10 PM

    Comment #15


  • carltoon

    Feb 4, 2020 at 2:20 PM

    Comment #16

    Rob cup tied means they have played for another team in the cup competition. They were both signed to late for this game but can play next cup game. I think

  • toon kk

    Feb 4, 2020 at 2:21 PM

    Comment #17

    Big Bruce
    People have have short memories. A few wins and Bruce got it right, people posting in Bruce we trust, a few shit performances and people calling him sh.te. We had the same problem with Rafa’s but because it was Rafa “we had a world class manager can’t be his fault”.
    I’ll say it a thousand times our football is exactly the same, we’re dominated in every game and last season Perez or Rondon scored to nick points . Same this season but we’re relying on defenders to get our goals to nick points
    Think most would be happy with 12th place in the league as now before the season started.
    Do you think we would be playing different football and have more points if Rafa was still here with our current squad?

  • beefman13

    Feb 4, 2020 at 2:21 PM

    Comment #18

    This system!?!?
    I’m quite ashamed of my beloved club, anything to get MIKEY Points, f cuk the fans, sacrificing any sort of entertainment at home against the bottom club, just to try and thieve three points in the 93rd min.
    The takeover talk, smokescreen of course, all I would say is, i have I’ve binned my season ticket, surely folk in our great city have more pride than to renew their’s, he’s making a huge jungle of monkeys out of us AGAIN.

  • 242Marley

    Feb 4, 2020 at 2:21 PM

    Comment #19

    Bruce would also probably say that our best player after the 2 he mentioned would be Joelinton.
    What kind of counter attacking football requires both of our wide attackers to greatly reduce the speed of play to cut inSide or wait for our striker’s senses to tingle everytime they have the ball around opponents‘ 18 yards?
    Also, from what I’ve seen, you could argue that our best distributor and striker of the ball are both central defenders.

  • carltoon

    Feb 4, 2020 at 2:22 PM

    Comment #20

    So they aren’t cup tied.

  • cyprus

    Feb 4, 2020 at 2:25 PM

    Comment #21

    I know what Bruce means, but we don’t play like Wolves! They’re easy on the eye.

    I hope we are too, eventually. Entertainment is a word that hasn’t been associated with Newcastle for too long.

    When Wolves attack, they do it as a unit, with loads of passing options. We sit back, hoping the three forwards will do their thing. They get swamped and usually lose the ball.

    You have to feel for Joelington, he gets maybe a chance a game. Then again, he needs to contribute so much in holding and advancing the ball, that he’s rarely where he should be. In a scoring position.

    It’s still quite messy, admittedly, all over except in defense.

    Anyway, work in progress, once we are sure of safety they’ll all get more adventurous I’m sure.

  • hibbit

    Feb 4, 2020 at 2:29 PM

    Comment #22

    who would have thought it Joselu is currently up there with the top goalscorers in La Liga

    Lionel Messi 1??4??
    Karim Benzema 1??3??
    Luis Suarez 1??1??
    Joselu (Alaves) 9??
    Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona) 7??

  • carltoon

    Feb 4, 2020 at 2:29 PM

    Comment #23

    Well done Joselu, 9 goals. Can we resign him.!

  • carltoon

    Feb 4, 2020 at 2:30 PM

    Comment #24


  • IrishRob

    Feb 4, 2020 at 2:31 PM

    Comment #25

    I was a bit confused when he called it cup tied, I was thinking how can Lazaro be cup tied and he played in Serie A.

    But hats off for the explanation on why they cant play, I didn’t know that.

    Fairs, dont ever be sorry for being able to include the words “penetration from the flanks” in a sentence. I gave you a like for that. Lol

  • fairscup

    Feb 4, 2020 at 2:37 PM

    Comment #26

    So Bentelab can play?

  • RobLeenio

    Feb 4, 2020 at 2:48 PM

    Comment #27

    Carltoon, yep, clumsy wording from me, shouldn’t have used that phrase.

    You keep me right!


  • RobLeenio

    Feb 4, 2020 at 2:57 PM

    Comment #28

    Bentaleb played in the first round so can definitely play – and I think he probably will.

    Bruce can’t have injured him already????

    He might go with Bentaleb and the Lobbies in CM, Hayden at right wing back like he did vs Rochdale, but I think Yedlin will be in and Hayden rested.

  • Mag :P

    Feb 4, 2020 at 3:00 PM

    Comment #29

    They aren’t cup tied, say we beat Oxford tonight, they will be eligible for the next round game away to West Brom.

    The reason they can’t play in the match tonight is because it is a replay and they weren’t eligible (because they weren’t signed) when we last played Oxford at home.

    So effectively they are ‘Cup tied’ for this game specifically.

  • Sheikh Unknown

    Feb 4, 2020 at 3:00 PM

    Comment #30

    Maybe this has already been posted but the new super size TV screens inside the ground are pretty impressive. 😉


    Nicely sums up the Ashley era doesn’t it!

  • Moonraker15

    Feb 4, 2020 at 3:03 PM

    Comment #31

    Joselu is another who failed to impress at SJP and prove they can do it elsewhere. Mind I think the Premier league is a difficult place anyway because of the quality of defenders.
    You have to be special not to be overawed by the crowd and stadium of the Toon.
    Any average striker will struggle so it’s no wonder Joelinton struggles! An expensive version of Rivière I’m afraid!

  • fairscup

    Feb 4, 2020 at 3:03 PM

    Comment #32

    Yea Rob – forgot he played in last Oxford game – Yedlin does OK against this level of opposition but really needs to get his final ball right.

  • Jib

    Feb 4, 2020 at 3:03 PM

    Comment #33

    Peter Bankes is the man in the middle tonight
    He reffed our great comeback game vs Norwich at SJP (4 – 3)
    in the Championship.

  • Ron Knee

    Feb 4, 2020 at 3:08 PM

    Comment #34

    Mark Douglas@MsiDouglas

    The argument #nufc have to be passive and play the way they do is understandable when the opponents are superior. But not when it’s Norwich or Oxford at home and there seems to be no idea at all.

    That has to be a concern to the management. It’s certainly not a sign of progress.

  • #cans ( formerly known as Mindshaft )

    Feb 4, 2020 at 3:10 PM

    Comment #35

    My problem with Bruce is that he figs his own grave … Wolves , Sheff U and even Villa play a similar style but are way more entertaining than us in the way they play it – you could hardly say man for man they are way above us , it’s down to the coach
    Another thing is that he keeps saying we haven’t got quality , it’s the only way these players can play etc – surely the players must be thinking they are better than that

  • fairscup

    Feb 4, 2020 at 3:11 PM

    Comment #36

    Don’t suppose there is any chance of big Andy (instead of Dalewinton) playing with little Matty just behind him?

  • #cans ( formerly known as Mindshaft )

    Feb 4, 2020 at 3:12 PM

    Comment #37

    Moonraker – overawed by the crowd ? They’ve been full as dishwater last few games and outsang by both Oxford and Norwich fans …hardly an intimidating place these days for visiting teams or players

  • beermonkey

    Feb 4, 2020 at 3:13 PM

    Comment #38


    might have been posted all ready but check out 14

  • Munster Mag

    Feb 4, 2020 at 3:14 PM

    Comment #39

    Bruce comparing us to wolves is quite a stretch. But there again, they have better, more technical players. Good analysis re Bruce from Rob earlier. And Toon kk. Rafa is a better manager but our football was awful for half the season but all was forgiven because rafa hated Ashley and used to be a top class manager. At least Bruce isnt calling it a ‘miracle’ if we stay up, a disgracefully whinging self serving comment that was correctly rounded on by some journalists. Rondon has been a massive loss, so too Perez. Far less power and footballing intelligence now. I wish we had better than Bruce (we should still have benitez obviously) but we are where we are. Blog shud be pleasant tonight if we lose, which is more than possible. Maybe Bruce’s man management skills will get the team motoring but we’ve been awful recently and he has to share blame for this.

  • Munster Mag

    Feb 4, 2020 at 3:16 PM

    Comment #40

    Ron in fairness we had to suck up awful stuff from rafa too v poor teams. Eg Fulham and Cardiff away. It’s not as though we were vastly better. It was better under rafa, but before miggy it was pretty turgid.


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