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Steve Bruce – I Have To Be Big Enough To Take Criticism – I’m Not Looking For Excuses

It hasn’t been easy for Steve Bruce at Newcastle, and there is already a group of our supporters dead against him being the Newcastle manager.

But Steve’s record at Newcastle is fairly good.

And if we can get through to the quarterfinals of the League (Carabao) Cup tonight at Newport County, and then beat Burnley in the league on Saturday we’ll have 7 points from our first four league games.

And that’s a very decent start to the season.

Bu there’s some ifs there, and we must try to win our next two games.

The manager is trying to play a flat back four, after Rafa had used three at the back with the wing-backs making it five at the back against top teams.

Bruce is trying to make Newcastle into a more attacking side, and he seems to have done well in this summer’s transfer window.

But of course it was always going to be difficult for any manager to replace Rafa Benitez, we always knew that.

And Bruce had the reputation of being only a journeyman manager in the Premier League when he first arrived.

Steve Bruce – heavy criticism at Newcastle

This is some of what Bruce told reporters on a Zoom call, as reported in the Chronicle today:

“Everything I do is analyzed, whether I make a substitution, how we play and this, that and the other,”

“Our performance against Spurs and Brighton was nowhere near what we are capable of.”

“For that, I understand why I get criticism, but it’s the constant, ‘Oh, he’s picked the team. He doesn’t know what he’s doing.”

“This is the way forward. We should be playing like this. Blah blah blah’.”

“That’s the difficulty, but if you play like we did against Spurs and particularly against Brighton at home as well, then you’re going to come in for criticism.”

“And you have to accept that at a big club with big expectations, the criticism falls upon you and I have to be big enough to accept it.”

“Look, we didn’t play well enough, but you get analyzed for everything you do, which is obviously the difficulty.”

“Look, I think I’ve had this summer to try and put my stamp on the team and there lies the difficulty for all managers now – especially in the transfer windows.”

“I’m not looking for any excuses.”

“I thought last year after watching us, we had been playing in a certain way for a long time and I didn’t think we had the personnel to change.”

“Now, we changed against West Ham and played two up top. I’ve always said, eventually, I would like to go to a back four and have wide players with a bit of pace, which we soon will have.”

“Hopefully, we will see a change in style.”

“Now, when you play against the other teams, the big teams, then we have to do something.”

“I’ve just seen West Ham change to match up with Wolves, so we have to have this ability to change into a different system, that’s for sure.”

“That means you don’t just surrender, but against the bigger teams, we have to have some sort of tactical plan to stay in the game against them.”

That’s because if you open up and say, ‘Right, c’mon, we’ll play you at your game’, unfortunately, it’s going to be a difficult afternoon for you, because of the strength and depth these big clubs have got.”

Sensible words from the manager.

But it’s all about results, and we hope Steve Bruce can deliver this season, and at least keep us out of another relegation fight: we are just sick of those.

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Comments welcome.

139 comments so far

  • Ron Knee

    Sep 30, 2020 at 11:50 AM

    Comment #1

    “I’m not looking for any excuses, but…”

  • Ketsbaia9

    Sep 30, 2020 at 11:54 AM

    Comment #2

    Ashley probably things we’ve done enough in the transfer market to stay up, but I still think we need more reinforcements.

    We really needed someone like Ross Barkley. Villa have enough now to stay up.

  • Mund

    Sep 30, 2020 at 11:56 AM

    Comment #3

    “Blah blah blah”

    Indeed Bruce almighty

  • DaveD1000

    Sep 30, 2020 at 12:03 PM

    Comment #4

    I could cry after reading that…

  • Mund

    Sep 30, 2020 at 12:05 PM

    Comment #5

    Achraf Lazaar, Henri Saivet and Rolando Aarons are costing Newcastle United £5m a year and the club seem powerless to move them on. #nufc

  • Lovem Hatem

    Sep 30, 2020 at 12:07 PM

    Comment #6

    I have just seen PSV signed Phillipp Max (LB) and Ibrahim Sangare (MC) for a combined price of about £15-16 million.

    Is Jamal Lewis worth the same as these two players?

    Do others think we should have bought these two players instead of Jamal Lewis?

  • Jail for Ashley

    Sep 30, 2020 at 12:07 PM

    Comment #7

    Some serious love in with Dr Ed and the Bruce mind.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Sep 30, 2020 at 12:09 PM

    Comment #8

    ”but against the bigger teams, we have to have some sort of tactical plan”
    Very sensible words those Ed, we’re lucky to have him leading the charge 😮

  • Greebol1892

    Sep 30, 2020 at 12:13 PM

    Comment #9

    Dear Mr Bruce, did you watch Liverpool v Arsenal? You may have noticed both teams DEFENDING FROM THE FRONT and PRESSING the opposition. Not sitting back, waiting til the other team gets to the edge of our box and holds a shooting party or is allowed to get crosses in at will.
    Formation is irrelevant when the team is so poor at winning the ball and is told to sit back BY YOU.
    Winning games will keep us up.
    You win games by scoring goals.
    This is achieved by creating chances to shoot at goal and hope the ball goes between the posts.
    You create chances by passing AND moving FORWARD. Not by standing still.

    Goalkeeper is already rubber-stamped as player of the season due to our clueless manager. Not as bad as Allerdyce and McLaren but getting there.

  • Nufc 4ever

    Sep 30, 2020 at 12:14 PM

    Comment #10


    Yes Potter has made Brighton a more than useful outfit and pleasing on the eye. This doesn’t guarantee success but a dam site better on the eye than Bruce and his think tank.
    They gave Potter a six year contract asap when they seen what he can bring he is light years ahead of the dinasour.
    He played football with what he had plus a few signings.

  • t hibbitt

    Sep 30, 2020 at 12:14 PM

    Comment #11

    the man’s an absolute clown and the luddites that support him are idiots,

  • Mund

    Sep 30, 2020 at 12:15 PM

    Comment #12

    Where’s the installing of belief? Getting the lads into a winning mentality? I don’t care what teams have what players you build your own with your own ideas and beliefs.

    Look at Sheff Utd last year or Leicester doing the impossible and winning the league or Wolves who have been the shining example of a promoted club and how to progress.

    No matter what you build a winning mentality not put doubt there every week. When we are on attack there is no ideas, no good movement no pre planned training it’s like they are playing on a whim, guessing what others are going to do.

  • Rotonda heights

    Sep 30, 2020 at 12:18 PM

    Comment #13

    It’s funny I remember years ago bruce was always on MOTD when he had lost another match and he would always say ”I don’t want to make excuses” and then promptly launched into a load. Hence the name ”bruce the excuse”

  • Rotonda heights

    Sep 30, 2020 at 12:24 PM

    Comment #14


    I find that the most galling thing about bruce, he doesn’t consider us to be a big club. We are back to being a ”stepping stone”. KK, SBR and Rafa made the shirt important to players and instilled a belief. Bruce describes Morcambe as almost playing Barcelona and Newport as Madrid!! Most of bruce’s reigns have ended acrimoniously because he just can’t or seemingly won’t change. We’re nearly all praying for PIF but we desperately need a proper manager asap.

  • Optimistic prime

    Sep 30, 2020 at 12:25 PM

    Comment #15

    “I would like to go to a back four and have wide players with a bit of pace, which we soon will have”

    Is Bruce expecting more signings?

  • catchy in norway

    Sep 30, 2020 at 12:28 PM

    Comment #16


    You never gave the reason why you like him.

    Is it negative football you like.

    Now remember, it’s not the man I dislike, it’s how he plays the game.

    I dislike Pardew, full stop.

    Bruce I dislike the football, but like the man.

    All 3 play exactly the same, with very similar results.

  • catchy in norway

    Sep 30, 2020 at 12:35 PM

    Comment #17

    Respectfully retonda.

    KK yes, we were the most exciting team in the league in that period.

    SBR, yes because being in the top 4 means you are challenging and also he played good football.

    I’m pretty sure Rafa used us as a stepping stone, as we were among the faves to go down every season with him, and I can’t name one player he bought that has really improved.

    You could say that Rafa had the team punching above its wieght with were we finished, but that would actually make Bruce the better manage seeing as he a poorer manager but achieved a decent finishr in

  • Mund

    Sep 30, 2020 at 12:37 PM

    Comment #18

    Rotonda so footin frustrating.

    What did we ever do to the footballing gods? Because we are surely in deepest part of hell as a football fan. It just gets worse and worse every time he opens his mouth.

    Need rid ASAP

  • Tonyd3b54

    Sep 30, 2020 at 12:37 PM

    Comment #19

    Did bruce just admit to not having a tactical plan against smaller clubs?

  • Optimistic prime

    Sep 30, 2020 at 12:37 PM

    Comment #20

    I reckon we’d be taking more shots on goal than our average of one per game if Bruce is trying to turn us into a attacking team.

    Its also a bit hard to attack when the pacey wingers are left on the bench and we’re playing 3 cms in a 4 man midfield.

  • catchy in norway

    Sep 30, 2020 at 12:38 PM

    Comment #21

    And does anyone on here know what makes a dinosaur coach.

  • Optimistic prime

    Sep 30, 2020 at 12:39 PM

    Comment #22


    You’d make a canny one, youre always living in the past!

  • giimps

    Sep 30, 2020 at 12:40 PM

    Comment #23

    The trouble with all three managers mentioned, Fraudew, Rafa and Bruce…..you can only P!ss with the C*ck youve got.
    None of them have been given the tools to do the job so have made do and mended, Fraudew was by far the worst person imho, Bruce seems a genuine guy but with no tactical nous/ability, Rafa is a gentleman and was a fans favourite because he dared to try and break the mold of Ashley appointees, he also used his tactics to stay in games we should have lost but was not brave enough imho against some teams (he maybe didnt trust the squad to be able to adapt to a few different playing styles) but hes gone now and the comparisons while sometimes interesting are a timethief and and energy sapping, I think Bruce could do with a Terry Mac type of assistant to do the organisation …..as he is struggling

  • catchy in norway

    Sep 30, 2020 at 12:43 PM

    Comment #24

    Op maybe so

    But coach wise.

    Sir Alex, won his last saeson with a poor team, and moyes would have relegated that team if he continued.

    What makes good tactics.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Sep 30, 2020 at 12:47 PM

    Comment #25

    Scrutiny Bruce the Sheriff of Dodge City!

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Sep 30, 2020 at 12:47 PM

    Comment #26

    “I thought last year after watching us, we had been playing in a certain way for a long time”

    Obviously missed the part where we were top 6 form for the last 6 months while scoring goals and defending well in equal measure before he took over……

  • Mund

    Sep 30, 2020 at 12:49 PM

    Comment #27

    A good coach ofc

  • martoon

    Sep 30, 2020 at 12:50 PM

    Comment #28

    I’m not making excuses for Bruce 😀 but he doesn’t randomly come out with some of these statements – he is answering reporter’s leading questions. When part of these answers are taken out of context they do look stupid but I’m sure if you listened to the whole question and answer session they would make a bit more sense. (I think!)

  • Optimistic prime

    Sep 30, 2020 at 12:51 PM

    Comment #29


    Is there a reason you haven’t answered my post to you a couple of days ago?

  • cyprus

    Sep 30, 2020 at 12:51 PM

    Comment #30

    You could be in trouble my man. You mentioned the R word a couple times 🙂

    We REALLY have to move on. This guy’s our coach, let’s get behind him.

    There are negatives, put them aside, if you can.

    We struggled against Morecambe a couple years back, got our biggest away win in our history just a couple weeks ago. We’ve advanced further than in many a year in the cup. Enjoy it ffs.

    Till we lose, or win the thing!

    PS. I can see the statue caption. “Ye he won it, after 200 years or so, but he did have an easy run. And he did get lucky. Whereas…”

  • Jail for Ashley

    Sep 30, 2020 at 12:52 PM

    Comment #31

    “but that would actually make Bruce the better manage(r) seeing as he a poorer manager”
    Top comment from captain sensible!

  • Optimistic prime

    Sep 30, 2020 at 12:53 PM

    Comment #32

    Sorry for the repost

    Optimistic prime

    Sep 28, 2020 at 5:15 PM

    Comment #4

    The two managers play a boring defensive style.

    One manager 90% of the time you were in the game and had a chance.

    The other 99% of the time you aren’t in the game and look like you have no chance.

    If you can’t see that difference none of your stats count for squat.

    The writing has been on the wall from the start with Bruce, every aspect of the team has gone backwards since his arrival.

    What was left was a side that was playing well and looking to push on.

    I don’t give a foot about Rafa, where he is or what he’s doing. What I care about is Nufc and the shit shows served up by Bruce 99% of the time.

    Most of Bruces points with Nufc have been luck over judgment, Spurs another fine example of his coaching and managerial skills.

    We played Citeh off the park after going 1 0 down barely 2 seasons ago and won, look at yesterday and tell me the progress Bruce has made!

  • swinaz69

    Sep 30, 2020 at 12:57 PM

    Comment #33

    What a dick!

  • Jail for Ashley

    Sep 30, 2020 at 12:57 PM

    Comment #34

    “But of course it was always going to be difficult for any manager to replace Rafa Benitez”
    Simply not true and you are falling for media hype there. If they’d gone out of their way to persuade Carlo Ancelotti, Gus Hiddink, Nagglesmith 😀 or even Bielsa our former manager would have been forgotten in a flash, but we didn’t, we scoured every out of work Brit manager with the lure of not being sacked unless you relegated us before paying 4M for this clown and his team of Steve’s.

  • Mund

    Sep 30, 2020 at 1:01 PM

    Comment #35

    Well said OP fine points

  • Toonces

    Sep 30, 2020 at 1:01 PM

    Comment #36

    Mund @ 5

    5M per season is average of ~32K/wk between the three of them. Imagine this is ~10K/wk for Aarons and ~40K each for the other two. How much time left on their contracts? If 5 this should be their last year.

    No where near outrageous for PL players. Of course club no longer thinks they are good enough for the PL. Problem for lower league clubs to afford though.

    Surely if this is causing problems with loans it is worth more to have NUFC cover some of their wages to get them off the books and make room for new.

    We could also buy them out and release them but this is where our owner won’t want to see them leave with no return on his investment.

  • Mund

    Sep 30, 2020 at 1:05 PM

    Comment #37


    It’s incredible we find ourselves in this situation with a few players and have done for a good few years now since the French Revolution.

    Make me sick players who are happy to sit there and take the wage without doing naff all just on principal. We have no chance of being shot of any of them.

  • Toonces

    Sep 30, 2020 at 1:07 PM

    Comment #38

    Supposedly Lazaar was signed on a 5 yr deal for 2M fee in Aug 2016 and Saivet on a 5.5 year deal for 5M fee in Jan 2016. This must be the last season of their deals. Buy them out and set them free.

  • cyprus

    Sep 30, 2020 at 1:15 PM

    Comment #39

    Last point.

    VAR. There will inevitably be more penalties this year. Before, if in doubt, the ref would let it go. Now, he’ll blow his whistle with the luxury of double checking.

    So, what to do, since a pen tends to compl

  • cyprus

    Sep 30, 2020 at 1:17 PM

    Comment #40

    ….completely affect results?

    Move the spot to the D, make it a bit harder to score…


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