Newcastle failed a big test this evening at Bramall Lane. This match, against the league’s basement dwellers, was an opportunity to show Newcastle were at least better than the clubs below us.
While this is the Premier League where anyone can beat anyone, the manner of defeat tonight made it perfectly clear that it’s just not working for Steve Bruce. He did well enough last year to keep the club safe under very trying circumstances, but the remit this season is to improve over the last one.
Bruce’s capability of moving this club beyond abject insignificance grows increasingly unrealistic with each tiresome performance. The transfer window should have been enough to take this club forward at least somewhat. But it has regressed.
While three of our signings did arrive from relegated clubs, Bruce is just not getting the best out of this squad. The performances swing like a pendulum from decent to dreadful then back again. They rarely ever reach a level where this team is gratifying to watch.
This lack of consistency falls on the shoulders of the head coach. Bruce now has a fight on his hands to keep this team out of trouble. After failing to win in our last six league matches, Newcastle are no longer comfortably ahead of the bottom three.
It’s highly unlikely tonight’s result will spur Ashley into making a decision on Bruce’s future. But this can’t continue for too much longer. The Chronicle has asked Bruce about his future after tonight’s defeat and this was his response:
“You are asking the wrong one. I will never ever walk away from the challenge. I think I have been in it long enough to have that respect.
“I understand that in the first half we weren’t good enough. At the end of the day, I take responsibility for that because I pick the team.
“In hindsight, we have been trying something different in the last few weeks in going forward.
“I wanted to see us higher up the field and offering a goal threat and that didn’t happen.”