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Bruce Refutes Notion That Survival Is A Battle Between Two Clubs



Tomorrow is another crucial day for Newcastle’s survival chances, and we’re not even playing. The club that is hot on our trail, Fulham, do play and they host basement dwellers Sheffield on Saturday afternoon.

The Cottagers have become a focus of many of Newcastle fans as they confidently march closer up the table. Our once comfortable cushion of ten points has been deflated to just six in less than a week.

It’s the word confidence that has maybe unsettled a few fans, I know it has shaken me a bit. Quite a few pundits have put Newcastle firmly in Fulham’s sights as the club to overtake. While we are closest in 17th, there’s still a fair few targets just ahead of us in the table.

But it’s the Magpies who now have the bullseye on our backs. Pundits aside, Fulham boss, and former Magpie, Scott Parker is targetting Newcastle as the closest and possibly weakest of the pack outside the relegation places.

Parker said the following after Fulham drew 1-1 against Burnley on Wednesday as he looks ahead to Sheffield on Saturday:

“It’s a massive game for us now.

“The gap was 10 points, it’s now six. It’s going in the right direction and we’re going into Saturday trying to win that game.

“Our main focus is how we perform to get results in this division but of course the main focus (is to reel in Newcastle).

“I believe we’re very competitive in this league. I feel every game we play, we can win, I honestly do.

“I feel like my team can really go and get results in this division, we’ve proven that.

“We’ve only won all three all season but we’re very hard to beat and we have got quality.”

Fulham have greatly improved since the beginning of the season, there’s no doubt about that. While they often are tough to beat, winning consistently is still an elusive animal for them. They’ve only won three matches, as Parker admits, but have drawn 10 times, including the 1-1 draw at St. James’ Park towards the beginning of our horrid winless streak.

The inability to win has severely hampered Fulham’s march up the table, which is a massive blessing for Newcastle, as the cushion has been flattened but still requires a lot of work for Fulham to overcome.

Steve Bruce recently responded to Parker’s comments. The Northern Echo has published the following statement from Bruce about the brewing battle for 17th position in the Premier League:

“I’ve always said that it’s your accumulation of points that determines what you get at the end of the season. No matter what anyone else does, you’ve got to set yourself a target of whatever that points tally may be.

“If you look at the bottom six or seven at the moment, there are two or three points separates a host of teams. We’re not alone in it.

“Fulham have obviously won (last weekend) and closed the gap a bit, but they’re still struggling to win as well. I think they’ve only won one of their last 14 games.

“It’s all to play for. We know we’re in the bottom half of the division, which means we have to get to the (safety) figure as quickly as we possibly can.

“Let’s see where we all are at the end of the season. If they’re (Fulham) confident, then let’s see where we all end up.

“Sometimes, your fixture list in terms of when you’re playing certain teams can color things a bit and help in certain situations, but you’ve just got to quietly get about your job and get the points on the board, and that’s what we’ll be trying to achieve.”

If Bruce is worried, he’s not showing it and is putting on a brave public face at the moment. He does make a few good points worth mentioning. Fulham are in a stretch of games where they must pick up not only points but really wins.

The 2-0 win at Goodison Park last weekend was massive for them and fueled their growing belief of escaping the bottom three. However, the Burnely draw could be seen as a missed opportunity, though Burnley too have improved recently.

Next up for Fulham is Sheffield tomorrow and then Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park next Sunday. After these two matches, their path gets more daunting with Liverpool, Manchester City away, and Leeds before the international break. So the next two matches are critical for Fulham to pick up more than a couple of points.

Newcastle, after getting two wins in three, took a step back at Chelsea with a 2-0 defeat, though it was not an unexpected result. On Sunday, it’s Manchester United, where any result would likely be seen as a bonus.

The current run of fixtures does favor Fulham but that will change in the next few weeks. So Bruce makes a salient point there as he does in affirming that it’s not a battle between Fulham and Newcastle for safety.

There are teams in the table just above Newcastle, who while slightly better off, are by no means out of the mire just yet. Brighton, Burnley, Crystal Palace, Southampton, and Wolves are all within five points in the table. So the five teams above are closer than the team directly behind.

This is not to say Newcastle haven’t put themselves in a dreadful position by underperforming for much of the season. That is crystal clear. This was touted as a season of progress with a top ten finish as the stated aim. It’s a step backward into a relegation fray.

However, there are still games to be played and the battle for survival is not just Cottagers chasing Magpies, at least not yet.

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126 comments so far

  • Adamn_92

    Feb 19, 2021 at 1:53 PM

    Comment #41

    geordietom

    Who said the league failed it on here? If there’s a response to what i’ve been saying, I said that ‘last i heard was that the league claimed they never officially rejected the deal’ so never said they rejected it.

    Apologies if you’re referring to someone elses comment(s) and I’ve missed it

    1
  • Jail for Ashley

    Feb 19, 2021 at 2:05 PM

    Comment #42

    It never succeeded then what did it do?

    1
  • Wor B

    Feb 19, 2021 at 2:07 PM

    Comment #43

    What’s that you say stinky Pete? Squeaky bum time is your specialist subject!

    Relax folks, got this covered.

    2
  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Feb 19, 2021 at 2:13 PM

    Comment #44

    At this moment in time I would happily swap TFG for Gary Ainsworth, his team is ten points adrift at the bottom of the Championship yet he continues to be positive that they can beat the drop unlike a certain tractor driver.

    3
  • Mund

    Feb 19, 2021 at 2:26 PM

    Comment #45

    Stalled indefinitely

    1
  • Optimistic prime

    Feb 19, 2021 at 2:33 PM

    Comment #46

    I’d swap TFG for a 10p mix up

    4
  • lochinvar

    Feb 19, 2021 at 2:34 PM

    Comment #47

    Bruce’s logic seems to centre around the concept of halves.

    20 points for the first half of the season, then 20 points for the second half of the season, job’s a good un. Except that it’s not.

    One pair of gloves is made up of two halves.

    Football is a game of two halves – which one should we perform in ?

    Half time – ” orange lads, I’ve cut them in half”

    Two Steves – one to coach each half.

    His record collection includes the memorable Credence Clearwater Revival hit “I’ve seen a half moon arising”

    Need a more wholesome holistic approach if you ask me.

    4
  • captainmarvel

    Feb 19, 2021 at 2:35 PM

    Comment #49

    Well said Tom..The takeover stalling was a tactical move by the EPL..

    On the issue of relegation and taking it..Utter rubbish, why?
    The aim for any team is to achieve the ultimate ambition of playing at the highest level, NUFC are at the top table. To give up what you attempt constantly to achieve is stupidity personified, it is beyond belief what is being contemplated!
    Everyone and their dog know how difficult it is to get out of the Championship there are teams who have been stuck there for decades? Are we saying it is easy to win promotion to get back to where you were in the first place? Its madness..

    7
  • ilovetoon8788

    Feb 19, 2021 at 2:44 PM

    Comment #50

    bruce is delusional. us and fulham are fighting out for the 17th place spot.

    our form and football is generally horrendous. as a neutral, i would have placed a bet on us going down.

    4
  • Romford mag

    Feb 19, 2021 at 2:44 PM

    Comment #51

    JR

    Good luck in the H2H this week mate 🙂

    1
  • magicmac54

    Feb 19, 2021 at 2:48 PM

    Comment #52

    Jail for Ashley

    Good afternoon Jail lad, what did Bruce say that Scott Parker doesn`t need to do ado a team talk this weekend as Bruce has done it for him?

    1
  • magicmac54

    Feb 19, 2021 at 2:50 PM

    Comment #53

    Nothing has changed at Newcastle as the top 17 has always been the limit of Ashley`s ambition.

    0
  • captainmarvel

    Feb 19, 2021 at 2:52 PM

    Comment #54

    Magic he said, “try and keep the score below 10 lads!”

    1
  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Feb 19, 2021 at 2:57 PM

    Comment #55

    This Fulham Sheffield United game will be a right hum dinger of a fixture

    Fulham will want to try catch us but Sheffield United could get closer to Fulham with a win both play open football but just don’t have goal scorers

    Would be best for us if Sheffield United won though

    2
  • magicmac54

    Feb 19, 2021 at 2:59 PM

    Comment #56

    Captainmarvel

    That would not surprise me in the slightest Mr Captain he he he he

    1
  • hibbit

    Feb 19, 2021 at 3:01 PM

    Comment #57

    Captainmarvel
    re excepting relegation,

    i 100% agree, even thinking about it is ridiculous, how could anyone guarantee how long we would end up being stuck in the championship,
    how much further down the pecking order would we fall with a season or two in the championship, and how much harder would it be to close that gap and catch the top teams,

    3
  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Feb 19, 2021 at 3:03 PM

    Comment #58

    A few changes for this weekend:

    Dubravka needs to come back in as good as Darlow is he can’t organise the guys in front of him its no coincidence we concede so many goals from cut backs with Darlow in hes never talking to the players to get them into position

    We also need to get Fraser playing on the left wing from the start this would give Lewis someone ahead of him who will help out but always be available for a pass

    ASM needs to play right wing teams have figured out how to deal with him cutting inside not ideal playing him with Krafth behind but just keep him back to not get exposed

    Shelvey has to get dropped for me hes been ambling about like an old man offering nothing going forward or defensively for too long its going to result in relegation keeping him in the team

    4
  • Northumbrian

    Feb 19, 2021 at 3:04 PM

    Comment #59

    So I take it we will all be honorary Sheffield united supporters tomorrow then.
    😉

    4
  • Adamn_92

    Feb 19, 2021 at 3:05 PM

    Comment #60

    Captain

    I get what you’re saying and I don’t think any fan wants us to go down or wishes we did. Was purely a hypothetical scenario where if we did the takeover would 100% go through. I think many fans would then take that scenario as the club would be better backed meaning a good chance of promotion within a few seasons and then a better foothold in the prem, not just surviving each season. I think people would take that scenario over staying in the prem scraping by year after year with Ashley in charge.

    As I say, all purely hypothetical though, i’m sure we all want the same thing which is to stay up and for the takeover to happen. So we can stay in the prem and start looking up rather than down 🙂

    1
  • onmeedsun

    Feb 19, 2021 at 3:07 PM

    Comment #61

    Captain/Hibbit
    If the options were staying up but Ashley being our owner indefinitely versus going down this season but the PIF consortium definitely being our owners by the end of this season, which one would you pick today. I’d go for relegation and PIF. Call me mad but another 10 years of Ashley will kill me and the rest of my life would be miserable.

    3
  • magicmac54

    Feb 19, 2021 at 3:09 PM

    Comment #62

    Lee Charnley

    Fulham v Sheff Utd will be a tight match, both teams play a fairly good brand of football but as you say dont really have goal scores, it could well end up in a draw, it will be a mircle if we even win the toss at Man Utd, no doubt Bruce will be nipping into Solskaers office to brief him on our team selection and the system we are going to play, every little helps he he he

    2
  • Jamesthefirst

    Feb 19, 2021 at 3:10 PM

    Comment #63

    People saying we should accept relegation for a takeover are crazy

    There is an option that PIF could still buy us if we go down, for £150 million.

    However, Championship games are not broadcast on Bein Sports now broadcasting in Saudi. PIF would never see us play. They would soon lose interest in the wilderness of the Championship.

    The ONLY chance we have to be successful is to stay up. And that sits entirely on Bruce. That is the worry.

    6
  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Feb 19, 2021 at 3:14 PM

    Comment #64

    @Magicmac54

    Have said it for a while but Man Utd aren’t actually that good especially if you make it difficult for them and don’t allow them space in behind!

    We all know what will happen we will be wide open with massive gaps for Rashford and Martial to run into……

    Their centre backs they can’t handle a physical forward or one with pace would actually be tempted to start with Carroll as hes the only one who offers that physical presence

    0
  • Adamn_92

    Feb 19, 2021 at 3:16 PM

    Comment #65

    Guys nobody is wanting us to get relegated don’t worry, it was just a purely hypothetical scenario! Where the choices were staying up and keeping Ashley, or going down and getting the PIF takeover. Nobody is wishing us to go down and nobody is suggestion anything would happen, just a harmless what if scenario 🙂

    1
  • Mund

    Feb 19, 2021 at 3:17 PM

    Comment #66

    It’s all hypothetical thinking and there is to many scenarios to contemplate with many variables.

    In other words don’t worry about it yet

    0
  • captainmarvel

    Feb 19, 2021 at 3:21 PM

    Comment #67

    You cannot guarantee that you would escape the Championship, every team will see us as their cup final, not just that..Who would want to play in that league of any note? We we’re lucky with the Manager we had and the team we had too! That ship has sailed..For me it’s a no-brainer..

    1
  • magicmac54

    Feb 19, 2021 at 3:23 PM

    Comment #68

    I would take being relegated all day long if it meant the takeover being approved and under saudi ownership, if we stay much longer under Ashley ownership we will all finish up in the funny farm in a padded cell lol

    0
  • captainmarvel

    Feb 19, 2021 at 3:23 PM

    Comment #69

    Glad to see you back Mund..

    3
  • magicmac54

    Feb 19, 2021 at 3:26 PM

    Comment #70

    Not one fan is saying they want relegation.

    0
  • captainmarvel

    Feb 19, 2021 at 3:26 PM

    Comment #71

    I would not like to see you relegated Magic that would be a disaster!!

    1
  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Feb 19, 2021 at 3:27 PM

    Comment #72

    People slating Rafa often forget what a great job he did in getting us up first time we lost something like 16 players and had to replace them all while gelling them into a unit that was able to win it first time of asking!

    You usually hear “oh why did he not attack more etc etc” did you watch our games? It was like a cup final for the other team every week teams performed their best game of the season against us especially away from home kicking us up and down the pitch Villa couldn’t handle it which is why they stayed down for a few seasons and we got up the first time

    4
  • magicmac54

    Feb 19, 2021 at 3:28 PM

    Comment #73

    adam@65

    Correct Adam spot on lad.

    1
  • Moonraker15

    Feb 19, 2021 at 3:31 PM

    Comment #74

    Play Hendrick tomorrow and just tell him to sit on Bruno Fernandez for 90 minutes. That’s about all he’s good for but if he can stop him playing it’ll be worth it!

    0
  • magicmac54

    Feb 19, 2021 at 3:31 PM

    Comment #75

    Captain Marvel

    Captain iam not worried about myself being relegated, but by god iam worried about Bruce being Relegated my friend he he he he

    1
  • Moonraker15

    Feb 19, 2021 at 3:31 PM

    Comment #76

    Sunday even!

    0
  • Mund

    Feb 19, 2021 at 3:32 PM

    Comment #77

    Thanks Cap always means a lot coming from you pal 🙂

    1
  • Mund

    Feb 19, 2021 at 3:33 PM

    Comment #78

    Moonraker that’s not a bad shout that mate and I’d defo go for that get Hendrick to shadow Bruno all game and he show us he can be of some use

    1
  • toon22

    Feb 19, 2021 at 3:37 PM

    Comment #79

    Why do we have the constant sale charade?
    He needs people to believe there’s a reason to part with money for STs
    The people who are due a refund
    The people who want a seat when the new owners show up

    He needs a paying crowd

    He’s been selling us for 14 years
    How many more before you see the pattern
    See how he cynically exploits peoples love of the club

    3
  • cyprus

    Feb 19, 2021 at 3:38 PM

    Comment #80

    Pundits are talking about potentially 6 points for Fulham in the next two games, but it’s not that easy for teams at the bottom. They won 2 all season! Each and every point is like gold dust.

    Have Sheffield given up? I doubt it. THEY’ll be looking at that game as a “6” pointer, with a win they’d be closer to Fulham than Fulham are to us.

    Palace? One more point.

    0


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