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‘But We Did Become Ragged’ – Bruce Still Uncomfortable With This Change


After Newcastle fell behind two goals against Arsenal in the second half, the head coach made a double substitution and changed the formation. Off came Fede Fernandez and Valentino Lazaro, and on came Isaac Hayden and Matt Ritchie.

Hayden moved to right-back as Bruce transitioned to a 4-1-4-1 with Matt Ritchie and Sean Longstaff playing centrally in front of Nabil Bentaleb. The change in the system saw two great opportunities to halve Arsenal’s lead.

However, the lads lost focus as the clock hit the 90-minute mark resulting in two very poor goals to make the final score an unpalatable 4-0.

Steve Bruce spoke after the match about the formation change. The Chronicle have published some of his comments.

“We changed things to try to get back into it, and in that change, we had two big opportunities.

“But we did become ragged. When we open up, we lose it at the other end and become too open.

“I have to say Martin Dubravka has been fantastic all season, but it’s a poor mistake.

“Then when you see Lacazette hit one and the ball come off his other foot and go in the top corner, you know it’s not your day.

“We have to move on, but the way we were so open at the end is a concern.”

Newcastle were open after the change but not necessarily due to the formation change. It was a case of the short blanket theory that Rafa would often talk about.

With this squad, you can’t have numbers moving forward pushing for a goal and be completely covered at the back.

At the end of the game yesterday, the backline just failed to stay switched on until the final whistle.

We still conceded two poor goals when we were playing in a 5-4-1.

For the first goal, Valentino Lazaro allowed Pierre-Emerick Aubamayang to get in front of him on a lofted cross into the box. Federico Fernandez also didn’t do enough to contest the Aubamayang’s header. It resulted in a relatively easy chance for the clinical striker, which he obliged to put away.

The second goal saw Bukayo Saka have his choice of two Gunners unmarked in the box to play the ball to. Nicolas Pepe ended up running onto it, but center-back Shkodran Mustafi also had no one around him.

Newcastle must move on from that second-half display yesterday. We played some of our best football in the first half, but it was entirely undone by shoddy defending throughout the second forty-five minutes.


52 comments so far

  • geordietom

    Feb 17, 2020 at 3:15 PM

    Comment #1

    i’m gonna ask one last time ( for the good of the blog ) …

    JAIL will you kindly refrain with your snipes and put downs directed at me if you don’t mind …

    11
  • geordietom

    Feb 17, 2020 at 3:16 PM

    Comment #2

    i’m still confident the takeover is on going , in fact it’s purring along nicely…

    4
  • #cans

    Feb 17, 2020 at 3:24 PM

    Comment #4

    If we’re going to put Saint max in the middle we need a new winger , Linton is not good enough and I’m afraid we’re just going to have to cut our losses on him imo , he’s just a workmanlike player – we’re trying to out a square peg in a round hole and refuse to believe it doesn’t fit so keep hitting it with a hammer thinking it will

    7
  • droppy in Wallsend

    Feb 17, 2020 at 3:25 PM

    Comment #5

    It’s funny how neither Steve nor Alex Bruce noticed that once we went into the preferred all out defence that we looked poor.

    Push everyone up 10 yards and keep at least one player within 30 yards of Joelinton and we will improve.

    4
  • Ron Knee

    Feb 17, 2020 at 3:26 PM

    Comment #6

    Ashley has too much “invested” in Joelinton.

    5
  • WLtoon

    Feb 17, 2020 at 3:29 PM

    Comment #7

    Interesting read by Harry De Cossimo in Forbes about the state of the club etc.

    1
  • pheasant plucker

    Feb 17, 2020 at 3:30 PM

    Comment #8

    It’s Groundhog Day

    1
  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Feb 17, 2020 at 3:30 PM

    Comment #9

    droppy
    I thought that it was strange that J was out out player for corners and our fastest player,Miggy was back in the penalty area. But then I suppose I’m not a top class coach!

    2
  • WLtoon

    Feb 17, 2020 at 3:34 PM

    Comment #10

    I think last nights 2nd half horror show hammers home just how clueless Bruce is. We have been piss poor even in the games we have picked points from, and so damn lucky its been untrue.
    I am like a lot of posters on here who think if we dont pick up at least 6 points from our next 5 games we are screwed

    20
  • droppy in Wallsend

    Feb 17, 2020 at 3:38 PM

    Comment #11

    EGB

    That’s just it we don’t know what we’re talking about at all.

    I think when SB is asked about tactics he says he prefers the minty ones to the orange ones.

    5
  • NUFC FOR SALE

    Feb 17, 2020 at 3:43 PM

    Comment #12

    Geordietom you’re deluded.
    Takeover still happening?
    Wake up you dafty

    9
  • Jib

    Feb 17, 2020 at 3:43 PM

    Comment #13

    I’m thinking we could get moidered at CP

    1
  • geordietom

    Feb 17, 2020 at 3:44 PM

    Comment #14

    2nd half was horror show yesterday .we should of pushed up on them we gave their players to much time on the ball …

    Cans another winger i’d bring the yound lad Allan back from his loan spell give him a try he looks like a old fashioned winger hugs the touch line might be worth giving the kid a try …

    0
  • geordietom

    Feb 17, 2020 at 3:46 PM

    Comment #15

    the takeover is still on going . nothing been said off both sides not like the last time , anyway nufc we shall see …

    0
  • geordietom

    Feb 17, 2020 at 3:47 PM

    Comment #16

    Nufc …

    dafty long time since i heard that …

    1
  • NUFC FOR SALE

    Feb 17, 2020 at 3:48 PM

    Comment #17

    I hope you’re right but I think there’s more chance of Joelinton being premier league top scorer this season.

    1
  • geordietom

    Feb 17, 2020 at 3:49 PM

    Comment #18

    just booked a cruise in anticipation for when we get took over …

    1
  • geordietom

    Feb 17, 2020 at 3:50 PM

    Comment #19

    NUFC …

    i’m just gonna stay positive about it mate …

    0
  • magpie0722

    Feb 17, 2020 at 3:50 PM

    Comment #20

    Geordietom @3
    Have said the same thing since third of the season Saintmax has great natural ability , quick feet, good movement and reads the game, played as a winger is for me a waste of his talent, if we could get Gayle fit they would front two. Problem is Bruce cant see it, nor can he see that square pegs in round holes doesn’t work either, time he looked all his players (kids included) start picking a team to go out and win the game, not one based on bloody defending. We have the players to play wingers now Ritchie, Almiron, now Lazaro plus a couple of kids knocking on the door for a game, there is nothing to lose as we have been crap all season, of course it takes a manager with balls to admit hes got it wrong and make the changes required. Watching us this season it’s like watching rabbits in the headlights they have no idea of what to do next and the amount of space allowed to opposition players is embarrassing.

    3
  • geordietom

    Feb 17, 2020 at 3:51 PM

    Comment #21

    jib …

    i’ll take a draw at palace mate…

    0
  • geordietom

    Feb 17, 2020 at 3:55 PM

    Comment #22

    Magpie 0772…

    funny enough i was talking to a mate of mine earlier ( he’s a arsenal fan ) he said pretty much the same thing put maxi through the middle , so yea i agree with that he’s strong enough to play up top . but as you said does bruce see it ?…

    0
  • #cans

    Feb 17, 2020 at 3:58 PM

    Comment #23

    I’ll take a draw at palace , my worry is that if we go on ‘front foot’ we’ll get hammered again – even given CP aren’t scoring many

    2
  • WLtoon

    Feb 17, 2020 at 3:58 PM

    Comment #24

    Geordietom

    i think the fact nobody has said anything, and all has gone quiet re takeover is the only reason why some fans have a little hope.
    They say no news is good news, well we will find out soon enough.
    I,m bored with it all now, seen it all before.

    0
  • geordietom

    Feb 17, 2020 at 4:04 PM

    Comment #26

    WLTOON …

    As i said i’m staying positive about it mate …

    0
  • WLtoon

    Feb 17, 2020 at 4:10 PM

    Comment #27

    Jib

    That,s the same article i mentioned earlier, good read, it hits home for some fans who have their heads buried in the sand.

    4
  • WLtoon

    Feb 17, 2020 at 4:11 PM

    Comment #28

    No many ITKs on here lately lol

    0
  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Feb 17, 2020 at 4:13 PM

    Comment #29

    geordietom

    Tom Allan is not out on loan, he scored for the U23s at the weekend!
    And yes he should be in the match day squad, before Atsu imo.

    3
  • DaveD1000

    Feb 17, 2020 at 4:13 PM

    Comment #30

    Billy Knonowt here

    0
  • Anglo Saxon

    Feb 17, 2020 at 4:13 PM

    Comment #31

    WLtoon re tiler have a number if you still need roof done but how to get it to you. cheers

    0
  • Jib

    Feb 17, 2020 at 4:18 PM

    Comment #32

    WLtoon
    It’s striking a balance between the over-postives (me) and the depths of despair wallahs

    1
  • WLtoon

    Feb 17, 2020 at 4:21 PM

    Comment #33

    Anglo

    Im not on FB or Twitter, any suggestions ? lol Thanks. Im prepared to pass my number over on here but not sure if it is permitted

    0
  • Anglo Saxon

    Feb 17, 2020 at 4:22 PM

    Comment #34

    Jib I think the wallahs have it mate didn’t see any positive in Sunday’s performance.

    2
  • hibbit

    Feb 17, 2020 at 4:24 PM

    Comment #35

    i honestly just don’t see what positives your picking up on Jib ???
    as a club we’re in terminal decline, both on and off the pitch.

    16
  • cyprus

    Feb 17, 2020 at 4:24 PM

    Comment #36

    Good article jib, don’t agree with all he says, e.g. regarding Ritchie. He’s hardly played this year. And, throwing in all new signings can bring an element of surprise. Unfortunately, it did: to us 🙂

    Interesting paragraph regarding points haul. It’s not over till it’s over. No relaxing now:

    “Newcastle should get the job done, but they must heed lessons from the 2014/15 campaign, when they had 32 points at this stage only to collect just four more before a final day showdown with Hull City, managed by Bruce at the time, for survival. Victory over West Ham averted disaster”.

    0
  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Feb 17, 2020 at 4:25 PM

    Comment #37

    WLtoon

    I wouldn’t do that mate, you could do it via Neil probably there is a contact email at the top of the page.

    1
  • WLtoon

    Feb 17, 2020 at 4:26 PM

    Comment #38

    Jib

    sensible way of looking at it, i know we all agree that it.s time for a change from top to bottom at the club.

    0
  • hibbit

    Feb 17, 2020 at 4:26 PM

    Comment #39

    Anglo/WL
    email the roofers number to ED and he’ll pass it on ,

    1
  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Feb 17, 2020 at 4:27 PM

    Comment #40

    The 1st half on Sunday was a positive, trouble is that the 2nd was a big negative.

    1

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