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Does Bruce’s ‘Quiet Confidence’ Belie The Gravity Of Newcastle’s Situation?



There were positives from Newcastle’s performance at Old Trafford on Sunday night. The intensity was there at the start and Newcastle frustrated Manchester United for much of the first half as well as a slice of the second.

However, following an early stint in the Manchester United end after the break, the Red Devils slowly churned their way into the ascendency. Joelinton, who was playing well, succumbed to a knock and was forced off. Soon after Daniel James grabbed the goal to put the Red Devils in a lead they had no intentions of relinquishing.

Newcastle had little on reserve to alter the turn of events. The match played out as we’ve seen too often this season, with the lads unable to mount a charge in the final stages. Manchester United added a penalty that extinguished any thoughts of a result.

An encouraging first 50 minutes ultimately ended with another pedestrian defeat. Our next match against Wolves looms even larger on the horizon. A defeat at St. James’ Park next Saturday and we could be in the bottom three if Fulham beat Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Steve Bruce was asked about the desperate situation Newcastle find themselves in after failing to get anything from trips to Chelsea and Manchester United while Fulham picked up 7 points. The Northern Echo has published the following response:

“There’s six or seven teams in and around it with 13 games to go. I’m sure there’s a few looking over the shoulders, and of course we’re one of them.

“But I’m still quietly confident that we’ll be fine – if we keep performing like we did for the first hour. It was always going to be difficult going to Chelsea away and then Man United away, but I’ve been pleased with certain aspects of it.

“I thought we played really well for an hour. They got a goal just at the right time, and then another one just after half-time. The first goal, I’m sure we can defend better. The second one, we got a horrible deflection that took it into the path of James.

“We’re disappointed, but I can take a lot of positives from it, especially our performance in the first hour. There were large periods I was pleased with, but we have to put the whole thing together and get a few results, of course.”

It’s hard to believe that Bruce is really this nonchalant about our current situation. He’s got to be concerned that this season has been transformed into a perfect storm for relegation.

His answer is pragmatic and shows no hint of panic. Which is probably what you’d want from your head coach. However, there are a fair few fans who will question if he really grasps the gravity of this situation.

Hopefully, he does. Hopefully, he means what he says. Getting points at Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford was always going to be a tough ask. For about 100 minutes across two matches, this squad showed they can be a very good side.

However, it’s the remaining 80 minutes that raise a massive red flag. This team and this season have given Newcastle fans no reason to be optimistic despite Bruce’s assertions that everything will work out in the end.

There is still a third of the season to go and the lads have played better recently. So we’ll give that to Bruce. But wins are crucial at this stage and picking them up will be our only path to survival. Playing well for an hour or so while coming up empty-handed is just not going to keep Newcastle out of the bottom three.

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124 comments so far

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Feb 22, 2021 at 11:45 AM

    Comment #1

    Fulham play in a way at the moment that they can draw games against the top 6 we seem to concede cheap goals which doesn’t give you a chance

    Having ASM and Shelvey in the same team means we have 2 players that don’t track runners playing on the same side coupled with Lewis who can have lapses in concentration just leaves you in serious trouble

    Would actually be better with Dummett who will stay solid and not leave any gaps or Richie who isn’t great but at least he shouts at others to get into position which we are lacking

    5
  • Wor B

    Feb 22, 2021 at 11:52 AM

    Comment #2

    Mund #423

    Nicely rescued with a treble negative! 😀

    3
  • onmeedsun

    Feb 22, 2021 at 11:52 AM

    Comment #3

    The next 4 games are crucial to us, especially when set against who Fulham have to play. But the real issue for us we have to play them without the one goal scorer we have in the squad and 2 full backs who are the weak link in our back line. I think there are too many weak links in our team and by the time Wilson returns it will be too late. We are carrying too many squad members who cannot contribute when they come on.

    1
  • Optimistic prime

    Feb 22, 2021 at 11:54 AM

    Comment #4

    Mund

    The fans screaming and worried about it, didn’t go to the Bruce school of positivity.

    See where we are in 4, isn’t the foward thinking or planning this or any club needs, its exactly what Bruce would say.

    It’s the reason we are where we are.

    I understand the sentiment, beleive me, however, it comes across as giving Bruce a pass or agreeing with him.

    I do beleive the next 4 are winnable, just not with Bruce qt the helm.

    11
  • Assassins Inc

    Feb 22, 2021 at 11:54 AM

    Comment #5

    Bus move.
    I’m sick to my stomach with what’s happening at our club, sick that MA does nothing to protect on paper his biggest asset.
    Sick that American friends and people new ask me then laugh when I tell them I support the Toon, yes, you know, the ones that support Liverpool, Man U any of the so called big six, never once have I heard an American say I support West Brom or Fulham or Everton, I have to deal with aholes laughing that I support Newcastle United. Thanks MA, thanks the three Amigos, aka Steve’s.

    4
  • Mund

    Feb 22, 2021 at 11:54 AM

    Comment #6

    Wor

    I could do with a treble something I know that bud..

    In fact got a nice bottle of Havana club 7 hmm nah to early and a school day but then again I always remember one of my teachers getting pissed in the stock cupboard lol I might even understand more

    2
  • Adamn_92

    Feb 22, 2021 at 11:54 AM

    Comment #7

    LCBP

    Exactly, I don’t know why it’s viewed as negative to view things this way right now. It’s just realistic based on Fulham right now and us right now. They can get a point against a better team if they need to, we can’t. We have more vulnerabilities which teams will exploit and we don’t learn from them. It’s not being negative to see our flaws and have realistic worry about how things are going and look like going.

    1
  • Carson80

    Feb 22, 2021 at 11:54 AM

    Comment #8

    Have said it since I started posting on here a week ago, Dummet should be playing leftback with Lewis sat in front of him, this would ease the defensive burden on Lewis and allow him to attack more (like against West Ham and Everton) and not have to worry so much about what’s going on behind him. The only reason I can see for not playing Dummet was that he was the only fit defender to come on incase one of our other defenders got injured.

    4
  • Bills Son Is Back

    Feb 22, 2021 at 11:55 AM

    Comment #9

    Most fans aren’t quietly confident…

    We are screaming at Bruce because we have no confidence in him.

    If Fulham overtake us on points the panic will reach another level.

    8
  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Feb 22, 2021 at 11:57 AM

    Comment #10

    @Adam

    I have seen a lot of Fulham and its actually frightening how much Parker has improved them through coaching and changing systems

    When they came up Mitrovic was up front and they were wide open he then took a look tightened them up and took Mitro out the team which made them solid but they just don’t have a goal scorer until Maja rocked up…..

    Bruce has shown no such improvement we concede too many goals and cannot score either he just never seems to be able to get balance

    4
  • lesh

    Feb 22, 2021 at 11:57 AM

    Comment #11

    Bruce – “I’m sure we can defend better”.

    After 18 months with Bruce as HC, why don’t they?

    By virtue of his continued presence, it’s clear that whoever’s in charge’ll believe anything or, they’re so blind they will not see the reality.

    Ashley’s supposed to be a gambler and I wonder if he’d risk everything by backing a horse with form like ours?

    4
  • Optimistic prime

    Feb 22, 2021 at 11:57 AM

    Comment #12

    Prior Planning and Preparation, Prevents Piss Poor Performance.

    Not the Nufc mantra

    3
  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Feb 22, 2021 at 11:58 AM

    Comment #13

    I still maintain we would be far more effective going forward and in defence if we had Fraser and Murphy on the wings for a prolonged period of time in a 4231/442

    We would still create chances maybe more than we do and we would have protection for the fullbacks

    0
  • Mund

    Feb 22, 2021 at 11:59 AM

    Comment #14

    OP

    But Bruce is here isn’t he? I can’t do nowt about that and neither can you, so why waste energy on him?

    He has to go no doubt about it but shouting about it on social media won’t change that as it’s been screamed out loud for months.

    It’s never over until it’s over!

    All this anger and stress and about being confident we will be relegated and then end of the season we are still a PL team, you see what I’m saying?

    3
  • Carson80

    Feb 22, 2021 at 12:00 PM

    Comment #15

    Ha Mund that reminds me of a teacher I had, he used to sneak into the stock cupboard for a fag, one day one of the lads hid his fags, the teacher comes out and knew who had done it and said to him “where’s my fags son”.

    2
  • Optimistic prime

    Feb 22, 2021 at 12:00 PM

    Comment #16

    Bruce turned up, no ideas, no plan, no clue about the players.

    Chucked them on the pitch and said play.

    Until Jones came, no tactics or instructions for players.

    Jones is to little to late, especially with Bruce still picking the side.

    Bruce would be lucky to be mid table with Liverpool or Citehs squad

    7
  • lesh

    Feb 22, 2021 at 12:01 PM

    Comment #17

    Bill’s son

    Yes, if Fulham overtake us on points the panic will reach another level. But by then, it’ll be too late.

    3
  • Mund

    Feb 22, 2021 at 12:01 PM

    Comment #18

    Carson haha

    Good times eh mate 🙂

    0
  • lesh

    Feb 22, 2021 at 12:03 PM

    Comment #19

    Optimistic prime

    Was Jones on the touchline and if so, did he have any input and how did the Jones-Bruce dynamic look?

    1
  • Optimistic prime

    Feb 22, 2021 at 12:04 PM

    Comment #20

    Mund

    I’m not angry and stressed out, not to a level that will be doing me any harm.

    People venting on here, is way better than them venting or getting angry and frustrated with friends and family.

    It’s kinda why the blog is here, so people can express their fears, anger exitment and joy, been very little of the last 2 for a while.

    Surley yiu understand why people are nervous and unhappy about watching the club sleepwalking into another dog fight.

    20
  • Wor B

    Feb 22, 2021 at 12:05 PM

    Comment #21

    To borrow (and modify) a well used phrase..

    I’m confident and staying confident that there’s a very real chance we’ll go down.

    #Copyright/geordietom

    4
  • Tyran21

    Feb 22, 2021 at 12:05 PM

    Comment #22

    Always feel Joel’s best position is behind the striker, feeding balls to runners like ASM,Miggy and striker.

    4
  • Mund

    Feb 22, 2021 at 12:06 PM

    Comment #23

    OP

    Ofc I do but there is plenty who think they can see into the future and already know what’s going to happen 🙄

    0
  • Carson80

    Feb 22, 2021 at 12:07 PM

    Comment #24

    Certainly were Mund, don’t think any teacher would get away with what some of them used to get up to now.

    1
  • Adamn_92

    Feb 22, 2021 at 12:07 PM

    Comment #25

    LCBP

    Parker has done a fantastic job at changing their fortunes round. It must be so refreshing to have a manger who identifies the problems in his squad and makes changes to address them. Even when they struggled to score, they looked hard to beat and have picked up draws as a result. If we were able to grind out draws when we’re off the pace or against good opposition, we’d likely already be safe by now! I don’t think Bruce is capable of spotting weaknesses or assessing the oppositions strengths, he hasn’t shown it yet anyway. Wolves will know our weak spots are the flanks, they have pace, strength and trickery down the wings and could rip us apart down there if we don’t set up to deal with it.

    It’s ok for people to reamain positive and think we’ll be ok or want to see how we do in the next few games. But it’s also ok to think a bit more negatively and vent that frustration. There’s no right way to feel and this is a blog for all things NUFC, so if we can’t vent frustration about managers and the club on here, where should we?

    6
  • Carson80

    Feb 22, 2021 at 12:08 PM

    Comment #26

    Wor B you like the new gravatar lol.

    0
  • Mund

    Feb 22, 2021 at 12:09 PM

    Comment #27

    Carson

    Nee chance mate as I remember my head of year picking me up by my neck and slamming again this wall, foaming from the mouth practically face to face spitting with anger lol

    2
  • Tyran21

    Feb 22, 2021 at 12:10 PM

    Comment #28

    Lesh, Camera didn’t show much of Jones, don’t think there’s a moment even. Nicky Butt chilling with OGS appears more often than Bruce though.

    1
  • Adamn_92

    Feb 22, 2021 at 12:11 PM

    Comment #29

    Like you OP, I’m not angry or stressed in general. I’m actually a very positive and clam person overall lol I’m frustrated at the state of my club though and so use this blog to express that, don’t see any harm in that. Like you say it’s better to do it on here with other fans than to family, work colleagues or friends etc. Whoever watches any game with me gets to hear enough anyway without me going on more haha

    3
  • Adamn_92

    Feb 22, 2021 at 12:11 PM

    Comment #30

    *calm

    Not clam haha

    0
  • barkel

    Feb 22, 2021 at 12:12 PM

    Comment #31

    LCBP – Agree with the formation. We need to play players in their strongest/natural positions. I would suggest we’ve played some of our best football in the last couple of years as a 4231. Next match I would go with

    Dubs
    Krafth (no other option) Lascelles & Fede (if fit) Dummy
    Hayden, Willock (Lobby)
    Fraser, Miggy, ASM
    Gayle

    Try to actually play football, no hollywood plays from Shelvey his decision making is getting worse and his accuracy for that, sure he has moments but he’s not been good for more than half an hour in a game in a long time.

    3
  • Mund

    Feb 22, 2021 at 12:12 PM

    Comment #32

    The link I used last night, Jones was showed quite a lot and to me looked like he had more of an influence than Bruce and the first real time I’ve thought hang about

    1
  • Optimistic prime

    Feb 22, 2021 at 12:13 PM

    Comment #33

    Lesh

    Didn’t show much of the dugout or Jones on my feed.

    Jones was in stands at start, JR pointed out and I’d said when it first happened, some coaches like a better view of the pitch.

    Saw Bruce muttering to Steve once or twice.

    I watched first half on a Chinese channel, then realised it was on BT lol.

    Despite more effort on pitch from majority of players, all the same weaknesses and problems of previous several games were on show.

    Theres absolutely no protection down the flanks and other than Hayden no protection for defence at all, barring the incredible Almiron!

    Every other player should be embarrassed and ashamed, if the rest put half his effort and application in, we’d be unstoppable.

    Kids a phenomenon!

    Duracell bunny wouldn’t stand a chance

    4
  • Goofy

    Feb 22, 2021 at 12:14 PM

    Comment #34

    The two losses to Manure and Chelski didn’t surprise me or probably anybody tbh.
    Bruce going on about oh we played well in 2nd v Chelsea, oh and we done well for 60 mins against Man U… Really!! The guy’s is deluded, doesn’t he know a game lasts for 90 mins?!!.

    Never wanted him here, always thought he’s a nice guy but now i think he’s a sly rat who collects a wage for being Ashleys bum boy.

    Yeah we played well for 60 mins until Jowellington came off, the guy can’t score bit some of his link up play is not bad. Once he came off he put Fraser on the right and he looked clueless. Fraser is a fast intelligent player but was but didn’t get used properly yesterday. Man U was tbere for the taking but Bruce doesn’t know how to win.

    Maybe overthinking here but is it possible that Ashley might have some of the EPL figures in his pocket? He is a billionaire so the odd bung is bound to go on. He could’ve set the whole thing up acting like he genuinely wants to sell but has no intention just wants the publicity, bad news/failure still promotes publicity, posting his cheap tat in the back ground wherever the pandemonium be.
    Starting to doubt Staveley as well, maybe she has her hand in his pocket too, ot’s just funny she seems to be amidst most of the fake overs

    5
  • Mund

    Feb 22, 2021 at 12:14 PM

    Comment #35

    Venting is fine but when you have posters who think they can predict the future with definite answers and results that will happen is over the top.

    Saying relegation is a cert when it hasn’t happened yet is over the top

    1
  • Tackle from behind

    Feb 22, 2021 at 12:16 PM

    Comment #36

    What about saying takeover is a cert when it hasn’t happened yet.

    Is that over the top?

    33
  • Munster Mag

    Feb 22, 2021 at 12:16 PM

    Comment #37

    Rotonda, you havent , at all.

    But you have peddled this story that some people were saying Bruce was a better choice than Benitez.

    Who were these people, because I cant recall anyone on here wanting Bruce over Benitez, any more than we would have wanted any other below average second tier boss to come here ?

    But its always fun reading what guys on here like to imagine they read !

    4
  • Carson80

    Feb 22, 2021 at 12:18 PM

    Comment #38

    Bloody hell Mund, our schools were so similar, the head of the whole of my school had a barny with an ex pupil on the front lawn right in front of everybody, we were all watching it out of the windows.

    2
  • Adamn_92

    Feb 22, 2021 at 12:20 PM

    Comment #39

    Only times I saw Jones was when Fraser came on and he was giving him last minute instructions and when Almiron was off, put his arm round him and talking to him. Both times Bruce was standing there doing nothing other than chewing his gums and breathing heavily, like someone who’s MDMA has just kicked in and he’s starting to freak out about it.

    9
  • Mund

    Feb 22, 2021 at 12:21 PM

    Comment #40

    Tackle

    Seeing as you are the man to find past posts remember this day please.

    As we will return to it in the future and see who was right.

    1


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