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Bruce Describes His Approach For Bottom Of The Table Sheffield After Futile Display

Newcastle had made a concerted effort to play higher up the pitch against some of the top clubs in England recently. That was evident in the FA Cup defeat at Arsenal on Saturday, where Newcastle had plenty of chances but just couldn’t convert them.

Bruce still infused his team with a defensive mindset while taking on the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City. But the lads still looked somewhat of a threat on the counter.

However, yesterday against Sheffield United, who had just 2 points in 17 matches, Bruce kept the reins tightly held and stuck with similar tactics. Newcastle had a few chances through Callum Wilson but lacked a consistent threat for much of the match.

The team held up well defensively but Ryan Fraser’s red card just before the break was a punishing and completely unnecessary blow. The handball decision against Fede Fernandez gave the Blades the breakthrough they were desperately striving for.

While those were two significant moments of the match, Newcastle’s tiresome and anemic performance brought them what they deserved, absolutely nothing.

The Chronicle has published Bruce’s explanation of his tactical approach for yesterday’s defeat. Here is what Bruce said he was trying to achieve:

“Too defensive in the approach?

“Well we have played the same sort of way and I have changed the personnel at the top end of the pitch to try to give us something a little bit different because we haven’t scored enough or created enough.

“That was my thinking, playing Ryan Fraser and Sean Longstaff as two false number 10s instead of Miguel Almiron and Big Joe.

“Of course, because of the games we’ve had, I tried to pick a team with a certain freshness.

“I wanted to see if something different would work.

“In hindsight what I needed was to get in at half-time to change things around but unfortunately the red card put pay to that.”

Whatever Bruce was trying obviously didn’t work out, and that’s been the case for much of the season. He seems incapable of balancing the squad between defending and attack. It’s Rafa’s short blanket with the blanket crumpled at the foot of the bed.

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78 comments so far

  • toonluvva

    Jan 13, 2021 at 1:13 PM

    Comment #1

    I don’t think Bruceless has a single of what is going on. We can all thank the 3 wise monkeys, Ashley, Barnes & Bishop for foisting this excuse for a manager on us.

    Well, when we get relegated PIF will switch to another target and I doubt whether Ashley will receive a penny in compensation for the failed takeover.

    Ashley calls himself a businessman, well he will have to answer to the critics who will question his abilities.

  • toonluvva

    Jan 13, 2021 at 1:14 PM

    Comment #2

    * Bruceless doesn’t have a single clue.

  • SholaShow

    Jan 13, 2021 at 1:18 PM

    Comment #3

    Ah, here it is in black and white, the two false no10s line.

    Brilliant comedy.

    It’s like Roy Chubby Brown suddenly thinking he can pull off Stewart Lee type comedy.

    How long has this two ‘false 10s’ been in the works with your modern coaching team eh, Brucey? Two days?

    You’re throwing shite at a wall and hoping something sticks you blagger.

  • jazzyp

    Jan 13, 2021 at 1:20 PM

    Comment #4

    The damage is done now lad’s,Even the hardcore few left on here have to admit this.Cabbage head will not resign because where does he go.
    No PL team would have him and at best the Fizzy pop league beckons for him.Then we have Ashley who doesn’t give a shite about the club and never has.

  • GloucesterGeordie

    Jan 13, 2021 at 1:24 PM

    Comment #5

    “Pick a team with a certain freshness”!?

    Hendrick, S Longstaff, Hayden, Dummet all played 120 minutes 3 days ago vs arsenal did they not!? And Dummet isn’t long back from injury.

    More rubbish from Bruce.

  • lochinvar

    Jan 13, 2021 at 1:24 PM

    Comment #6

    Steve Bruce
    “I wanted to see if something different would work”

    Translated as:

    1. What I’ve being doing so far hadn’t really been working

    2. I don’t read the papers and didn’t know that Sheffield United had won their FA Cup game so were up for a win against us.

    3. It never occurred to me that if we attacked and scored some goals it would be very difficult for them to come back from that knowing their record this season

    4. I fancy a good experiment as I used to like Boris Karloff in the old Horror films.

    5. I didn’t know what else to do apart from playing two imaginery number 10s to confuse the opposition.

    6. Their put h was way too long so we could never get up the top end.

    Yada Yada Yada

  • Bills Son Is Back

    Jan 13, 2021 at 1:26 PM

    Comment #7

    Without Almiron and ASM we offer nothing other than the entirely predictable.

    No flair, no pace, no running ability with the ball, no danger, no game changer, no threat…

    No nothing.

    And even then…

    Miggy has been chopped and changed position wise so many times this season he doesn’t know if he’s coming or going and ASM even when fit only does it in fits and starts.

    Coming and going and fits and starts also rings true for Bruce’s tactics, constantly changing from defensive full backs to wing backs, no settled partnership in midfield, playing a deep line and then trying a higher line when we have no pace in CM to catch the oppo’s runners when they break,

    This chopping and changing has meant that rotating players coming into the team now plainly have no idea as to where or what they are actually supposed to be doing – and it was plain to see last night that as a team we were clueless, rudderless and lacking in motivation.

    As many on here will know I’m one of the last to heave the criticism in to any manager, but I reckon the players must be nearly as brassed off with Bruce and his tactical sh#t shows as the fans.

    Last night’s team selection, tactics and lack of fight and motivation against a team with just 2pts was one the worst and most depressing things I’ve watched in nearly 60 years as a Toon fan.

    Bruce has to go.

  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Jan 13, 2021 at 1:27 PM

    Comment #8

    Two false no10s my arse
    Best false no10 if you want to call it…Almiron
    and ASM if fit
    Longstaff no energy or stamina for a false 20
    and Fraser – for crying out loud he has just come back from injury- bring him on second half.
    Stop digging a bigger hole and sought it out for Monday if you last that long

  • Pottsclock

    Jan 13, 2021 at 1:29 PM

    Comment #9

    Bruce must have forgotten to tell Longstaff where he should be playing because he certainly wasn’t in a false number 10 position. Horrendous

  • Wor B

    Jan 13, 2021 at 1:30 PM

    Comment #10


    Methinks last night was a significant moment in Steve Bruce’s journey with Newcastle United.

    I’m struggling to put it into words that will beat the blog filter so I’ve borrowed some.

    “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

    Other Churchillian quotes are available.

  • lochinvar

    Jan 13, 2021 at 1:30 PM

    Comment #11

    Steve Bruce explains tactics.

    I keep looking at that headline and can’t help thinking there’s something not quite accurate about it.

  • geordietom

    Jan 13, 2021 at 1:30 PM

    Comment #12

    Is Nigel Pearson still out of work ?, get him in instead of bruce at least Pearson know how to set a team up …

  • geordietom

    Jan 13, 2021 at 1:31 PM

    Comment #13


  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Jan 13, 2021 at 1:41 PM

    Comment #15

    Get Joey Barton – he’ll read the riot act and tell you where to stuff your false No10s

  • toonluvva

    Jan 13, 2021 at 1:46 PM

    Comment #16

    9AM an office in Shirebrook.

    Secretary “Good morning Mr Ashley. The letters to terminate the employment of 2 of your managers for falling sales are awaiting your signature.”

    Ashley “We can’t have failures like them in Sports Direct. I must move them out immediately!”

    Secretary “I see the football team you own lost to the bottom team in the league. Quite a shambles I believe, Mr Ashley.”

    Ashley “Which team is that? Oh the one I am about to sell you mean.”

    Secretary. “A fax came in overnight from Saudi telling you to go vomit in the fireplace. They’ve decided to buy a proper football team instead. I also received a strange call from something called the EPL. They just laughed about about a compensation claim, but asked if you had enough money to pay both their and your lawyers for their time.”

    Secretary “You don’t look very well Mr Ashley. Should I contact Mr Barnes and Bishop to tell you what to do?”

  • Just a Fat Dave Bassett

    Jan 13, 2021 at 1:48 PM

    Comment #17

    Since Pearson had that good run saving title winning players from relegation six years ago, he has had three very short spells in management. He got sacked after getting Derby to 20th place in championship with good players, he got sacked at some small Dutch team, and he got sacked after doing really bad at Watford. I’d rather keep Bruce to be honest. We need to start looking beyond guys who’ve been in the Prem.

  • gonufc (Newcastle United Sports Direct Advertising Club)

    Jan 13, 2021 at 1:52 PM

    Comment #18

    “False 10s”
    “Wanted to see if something different would work”

    This is insanity. We can’t pass the ball! We offer NOTHING. Apparently we don’t even train at it.

    I spent the first half trying to work out where people were even playing. “False 10s”! Hilarious. I assume that just means two players who can’t play at 10 then!
    I spent the second half trying to work out who came on for Hendrick at half time- turns out he was supposedly still on the pitch!

    Could we have Fiona Bruce instead?

  • captainmarvel

    Jan 13, 2021 at 1:54 PM

    Comment #19

    You would have to bring the consortium in on this and find a compromise between them and Ashley..They need to be contacted as to find common ground..
    If they are interested in taking over then I think their input must be considered as carrying on like this is only going to end up in years..

    I keep saying this, Gerrard would make this team click that is if he wants it.

  • Ketsbaia9

    Jan 13, 2021 at 1:54 PM

    Comment #20

    Steve Bruce was a good player and is a decent bloke, but he’s an awful manager. He did ok at Birmingham and Wigan but has done nothing since. Signing British players is not the way forward.

  • captainmarvel

    Jan 13, 2021 at 1:55 PM

    Comment #21


  • captainmarvel

    Jan 13, 2021 at 1:55 PM

    Comment #22

    Predictive text is as bad as NUFC…

  • cleveleysbob

    Jan 13, 2021 at 1:56 PM

    Comment #23

    Yesterday, I saw many examples (including Neils) of line ups, that with the relight direction, would have taken the game to SU and in all likelihood beat them. – From fans!!

    When I saw the SB line up, I was simply “gobsmacked” at the ineptitude. It bore no resemblance to any of the line ups presented on here. And that’s where all the anger comes from, if most of us can come up with a team to attack and compete, why can’t our woolly headed coach?

    Most of our line ups were studied, careful to give decent defensive cover, but also flexible enough and with a sprinkling of pace that could hurt the opposition – his simply didn’t!!

    His choice was over defensive, with slow midfield (in itself a sin in these days of fast moving football) and left the striker isolated yet again. None of the fans line ups suffered from these obvious errors!!

    This guy is so out of his depth, the embarrassment is monumental, and his “explanations” have less credibility or cohesion than the script of “The Phantom Menace” – which is probably a good pseudonym for Mike Ashley. 😉

  • Bills Son Is Back

    Jan 13, 2021 at 1:57 PM

    Comment #24

    Bruce adds a new ‘false’ to NUFC folklore…

    False dawns…

    False billionaires…

    And now…

    Two false No.10’s.


  • Wor B

    Jan 13, 2021 at 1:58 PM

    Comment #25


    Haha, I had the same thoughts on Hendrick but was too embarrassed to admit it!

  • Jail for Ashley

    Jan 13, 2021 at 1:58 PM

    Comment #26

    Seems that Eddie Howe would be the more attractive but Nigerian Pearson is also out of work and has a bit more experience, if it is just until the end of the season then there’s not much else to lose.

  • captainmarvel

    Jan 13, 2021 at 1:59 PM

    Comment #27

    Good post clever Bob..

  • Jail for Ashley

    Jan 13, 2021 at 2:00 PM

    Comment #28

    Nigerian Pearson ha ha wtf 😀 me and this new phone have a lot to learn about each other!!!

  • Just a Fat Dave Bassett

    Jan 13, 2021 at 2:00 PM

    Comment #29

    Remember when Bruce invented the 5-wingers-with-none-of-them-playing-on-the-wing formation? I think he just moves things about hoping to land on the master formation that will cover his lack of training and win him the league. If he’s lucky enough to get a win, he’ll stick with it until he’s lost several in a row then he ‘experiments’ again. Meanwhile other managers have a plan and are drilling it into their players.

  • Ketsbaia9

    Jan 13, 2021 at 2:00 PM

    Comment #30

    I think Sven would be ideal as our manager. He would attract top foreign talent.

  • Pottsclock

    Jan 13, 2021 at 2:00 PM

    Comment #31

    “false number 10s”. I think is is referring to the fact that some players were wearing the wrong boot size, because that’s how it looked

  • Sav

    Jan 13, 2021 at 2:01 PM

    Comment #32

    Could have given Matty the nod over Sean. What galls me most is, for the last 15 minutes, we were all over SU with just 10 men. Maybe the players are largely to blame but there is an inescapable sense that we CAN play when let off the Bruce straightjacket. Except falling back on the Carroll for last few minutes option is not how we should be doing it (and that’s not a criticism of Carroll who has done well in the last couple of games).Yes, we miss ASM, but I agree with earlier comments about Almiron. His head must be spinning with the positions he has had to adopt. This regularly allowing the opposition the lion’s share of the ball every match must be sapping the will of any player to pull on a Newcastle shirt these days, knowing it will be more chasing shadows and throwing bodies in front of shots.

  • SholaShow

    Jan 13, 2021 at 2:03 PM

    Comment #33

    No thanks on Nigel Pearson. Just Steve Bruce with more machismo. Another blockhead.

  • Mund

    Jan 13, 2021 at 2:07 PM

    Comment #34


    Do you only read part of some of my posts?

    Seeing as I’ve owned up for what I’ve done and even apologised for it whats you’re point?

    When did I ever instigate the argument? Because I get defensive and stand up for myself in an over top way at times which I’ve admitted to but how’s that my fault?

    You know what rankles me is people who like to point out to others where they go wrong but stay silent to the many others who are a hell of a lot worse.

  • Just a Fat Dave Bassett

    Jan 13, 2021 at 2:07 PM

    Comment #35

    Pearson gets all his admirers from when he turned Leicester around winning x amount of games. People (including myself) said he built that great Leicester team he should have stayed on and maybe would have won. But maybe the question should have been why did he have a premier league winning squad Rock bottom in the first place? Also he didn’t build that team, Leicester have a great scouting system in place seemingly based on stats as well as observation. Pearson is another Bruce. Living on past glories that weren’t glories. Defensive. Been terrible for 5 years. But has experience in EPL (not much). Charnley has probably heard of him and maybe even met him.

  • Mund

    Jan 13, 2021 at 2:09 PM

    Comment #36

    The Government (Foreign Office) has confirmed it held two virtual meetings with the Premier League at the request of the top flight which saw officials from the Middle East and North Africa Directorate, and the British Embassy Riyad involved.

  • mindcompressor

    Jan 13, 2021 at 2:15 PM

    Comment #38

    Bruce is false manager

  • SholaShow

    Jan 13, 2021 at 2:16 PM

    Comment #39

    Eddie Howe is the blindingly obvious choice for 6 months.

    He isn’t great, but serviceable and relatively attacking.

    We’ll end up with Alex McLeish in March.

  • Just a Fat Dave Bassett

    Jan 13, 2021 at 2:18 PM

    Comment #40

    Mund, when two little kids get told off for arguing they both say the other started it and it’s not my fault, which is what you do. This is not being the bigger man. It’s being a toddler. The other people argue as much as you, we all know who, but they haven’t exonerated themselves in the way that you seem to have done. Your frequent statements about being bigger man, looking in mirror etc are goading others. I don’t mind people arguing but hypocrisy or a worrying lack of self awareness get under my skin. You are without doubt in the top 5 for getting in fights so you shouldn’t be all high and mighty all of a sudden. I suggest you take a look in the mirror and be the bigger man and quit with constantly telling others to do that.


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