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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

  • Optimistic prime

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:17 PM

    Comment #81

    Mund

    You talk like the takeover is a done deal, there’s more evidence pointing to us going down than surviving or evidence a takeover is guaranteed.

    Takeover is all hearsay rumours and a ongoing court case.

    Relegation talk is based on facts, our form, others form, fixtures for us and teams around us, injuries etc etc etc, all suggest we’re nailed on to go down.

    OK not a certainty, yet way more likely and way more evidence suggests it will happen than there is that the takeover will be successful.

    You can’t complain posters saying relegation is a dead cert, when you’re saying the takeover is a dead cert, unless you’re related to mystic Meg 😉

    25
  • lesh

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:17 PM

    Comment #82

    Mund

    Assuming it was Jones who you referred to as having more involvement than what was said, it’s about time Bruce let him define the tactics and selection. If Bruce has the say so on them, suffice to say he hasn’t done a very good job so far.

    I think Bruce is a negative influence and should be told to take a few weeks off, have a rest, a break from the club for the sake of his health. Or might he be worried that he’d be exposed for what he is – past his best.

    3
  • Adamn_92

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:18 PM

    Comment #83

    The mighty wyn

    Agreed, Bruce has shown us nothing all season of being able to turn things around. The only small change in performances recently has come about just as Jones joined so don’t think that’s a coincidence. Even that isn’t getting results though, so unless something else gives or changes, I don’t see why our results suddenly will. There is clear and obvious improvement from Fulham in terms of results and points, there is no sign of that with us other than marginally better performances for periods of a game. I think even if Shearer and other friends were telling Bruce, he wouldn’t listen. Doesn’t seem bothered about the threat of going down, happy to pick up pay cheques and stay in the job if we go down or the takeover doesn’t happen.

    3
  • Jamesthefirst

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:19 PM

    Comment #84

    @Adamn_92 – Exactly, that’s why I think if Bruce stays in charge for the rest of the season we will go down. 100%

    Fulham have just picked up 7 points from 9.

    Fulham know Newcastle will keep losing, so they just need draws now to stay up.

    4
  • Optimistic prime

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:21 PM

    Comment #85

    So our fate is in the Hands of Bishop or Charnley?

    Nufc isn’t a Ashley priority atm.

    Looking good on the takeover and future of the club (exploding head emoji)

    6
  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:22 PM

    Comment #86

    Lesh
    Re. Jones, from what I could see he was the one who was talking to players being subbed as they went on and came off.

    1
  • lesh

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:22 PM

    Comment #87

    Optimistic prime

    If the takeover is, subject to EPL clearance a done deal, then that could have been communicated to the players in some way. One’d then expect to see them play their hearts out but they ain’t.

    I’m losing faith that the takeover will happen. If it was close, Stavely and her partners would’ve intervened to stop the rot.

    6
  • Optimistic prime

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:23 PM

    Comment #88

    Lesh

    The players will be in the dark as much as us.

    2
  • Adamn_92

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:24 PM

    Comment #89

    @Jamesthefirst, I think that too. Obviously hope it doesn’t happen and i’m sure you do too, but form and stats seem to suggest that’s on the cards. Fulham are definitely capable of picking up draws and if they keep playing as they are, will pick up wins here and there too. We don’t seem able to draw and if we’re lucky will pick up some wins, but defeats too. Could come down to the wire and the odd point here or there, which Fulhams drawing capabilities could decide it. Fingers crossed it doesn’t and we finish above them, but yeah I have a bleak outlook on it right now.

    3
  • Optimistic prime

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:24 PM

    Comment #90

    Lesh

    Also agreed on intervention

    3
  • lesh

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:25 PM

    Comment #91

    Essex Geordie Bill

    Yup, that’s what others have said – while Bruce does what?

    I’m a one who believes that everything, everybody on this earth has a purpose but can’t for the life of me see what value he adds to NUFC.

    2
  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:25 PM

    Comment #92

    Tackle

    ‘Gayle came on at 79 minutes, there was 5 minutes of extra time, so he played 16 minutes total.

    Did anyone notice him?’

    I asked the very same question last night!

    Should have bought AC on, he’s proved that he’ll get stuck in many times already this season.

    1
  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:27 PM

    Comment #93

    Lesh

    Apparently he drives a tractor! 🙂

    1
  • Jamesthefirst

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:27 PM

    Comment #94

    Those saying Stavely and PCP would intervene if takeover was close and they wanted to save us, are missing the point.

    If we are relegated they get to buy us for £150 million instead of £350 million.

    Relegation is the best interests of everyone except for Ashley.

    1
  • WLtoon

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:27 PM

    Comment #95

    Just a quick visit. Im at work so cant hang about but ive heard that its been left to The Reibens to buy the club. Ile try and find out more but it could be a wind up. Do some invetigating lads if you can.
    Sorry about the grammer, im using my phone with sausage fingers.

    3
  • Optimistic prime

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:28 PM

    Comment #96

    Lesh

    Hes very good at winding Geordies up.

    2
  • Reilly

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:28 PM

    Comment #97

    So if the club isnt high on Ashley’s priorites list,all the talk of meetings in the Bahamas was BS.

    7
  • Optimistic prime

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:30 PM

    Comment #98

    If we’re relegated, we need to attract the right players and manager to get us up.

    Even if we get up, you’re investing in 2 squads in 2 years.

    Relegation is beneficial to no one, except the dead wood at the club, including Bruce.

    6
  • Optimistic prime

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:32 PM

    Comment #99

    No way Ashley sells for less than £250m, even in Championship!

    3
  • Optimistic prime

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:33 PM

    Comment #100

    Look what he has in the club, what he paid, loan he paid off and the extra debt he gave us.

    No way he leaves at a loss, I’d surprised if he took less than £300m

    5
  • hibbit

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:36 PM

    Comment #101

    James not a chance of Ashley selling at that price, he’ll just dig his heels in and sit tight,

    5
  • Adamn_92

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:36 PM

    Comment #102

    I don’t think relegation suits anyone. Ashley won’t be prepared to sell for a cut price so agreeing a smaller price could be tricky. No guarantee of instant promotion regardless of good backing and means less income from tv rights etc. Think all parties would prefer to stay in the league, which is all the more confusing that Bruce is still there.

    5
  • Jamesthefirst

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:37 PM

    Comment #103

    It will cost Ashley £1.5 million to sack Bruce right now. And just let Jones carry on until the end of the season.

    Or he gambles, keeps Bruce in charge, and loses at least £100 million on the asking price for the club.

    Fulham don’t have any of this nonsense to contend with. They are all pulling the same direction. Quietly going about their business to reel us in.

    7
  • Jail for Ashley

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:37 PM

    Comment #104

    Gawd forbid if Rafa came back and we started playing more ‘compact’ football. I don’t think I could bare to watch us.

    10
  • Jail for Ashley

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:38 PM

    Comment #105

    From Nufc360 on twitter:
    Previous relegation seasons after 25 games:

    08/09 – 27 points (finished on 34)
    15/16 – 24 points (finished on 37)
    20/21 – 25 points

    #NUFC

    7
  • Jamesthefirst

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:39 PM

    Comment #106

    Thats the danger that Ben Jacobs was talking about. If we go down, then the ball is in Ashley’s court and his price would be unacceptable to PIF, who would refuse to pay £250 million when they can buy quite a few PL clubs for that.

    6
  • Moonraker15

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:41 PM

    Comment #107

    Neil
    Yes we should be worried because a week ago Bruce was saying we had a buffer between us and the bottom 3. That “buffer” is now 3 points!
    Bruce is a bullshitter who doesn’t care like we do! If he gets the sack he gets a payoff and retires to his farm and lies low till the next sucker comes along; and to think Ashley paid Sheffield Wednesday compo to get him!
    Then we have the disgraceful sight of him joking with OGS after our defeat!
    No other manager would act like that!

    8
  • Jail for Ashley

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:41 PM

    Comment #108

    As Steve Bruce noisily tells the other teams in and around us that we ‘should’ pick up points from them, what better motivation for the opposition players than knowing Steve Bruce has targeted their particular team for points.

    3
  • Optimistic prime

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:42 PM

    Comment #109

    If we go down we’ll be in the position we were when the Mansours came calling.

    A willing buyer, a seller who wants too much.

    He’ll piss em off, they’ll move along.

    7
  • Mund

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:44 PM

    Comment #110

    Lesh

    On the Hesgoals link he was way more involved that what people are saying watching the BT link and I guess it’s a prime example of how two views can tell a different story.

    He was talking to the subs having quiet words of encouragement and coming on to the pitch side and being vocal. The most telling sign was how he was with the subs, his arm around there shoulder speaking words of encouragement in there ears and a pat on the back, a lot more than Bruce does.

    4
  • Optimistic prime

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:45 PM

    Comment #111

    What we’re we on after 25 last year?

    1
  • Mund

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:46 PM

    Comment #112

    OP

    What you and others need to see is the difference between the two. Where as you all believe we won’t win enough games to stay up so your basically looking in your crystal ball and all the points we could earn we won’t! All I say is we will be took over.

    One variable in mine with an announcement were you all believe it’s a forgone conclusion and we are already down no matter what’s left to play.

    Sorry for trying to keep a positive mind set you all keep being negative tho that’s your choice like being positive is mine

    1
  • Optimistic prime

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:47 PM

    Comment #113

    Mund

    A few times BT pulled away from the sub, I don’t even remember seeing Almiron going off.

    0
  • Adamn_92

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:47 PM

    Comment #114

    Don’t believe for a second he’s coming so purely hypothetical, but if Rafa did come in to save the season, I don’t think we’d see a massively compact defensive set up. I imagine he’d be happy to work with Jones, so we’d maybe see a more organised defensive unit, with faster pressing in our own half and a high press from 2 or 3 players up top putting the opposition defence under pressure. Remember Perez doing a great job of that, he’d be able to get that out of Almiron and Wilson and i’m sure could motivate one or two others to follow suit.

    Like I say, all hypothetical though.

    2
  • Mund

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:47 PM

    Comment #115

    Let’s say we stay up comfortably in the end there is no wonder outsiders call this fanbase deluded as there’s no balance! It’s either crash and burn or ride high and mighty 🙄

    0
  • Optimistic prime

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:48 PM

    Comment #116

    Mund

    The only difference is in your mind.

    18
  • Mund

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:50 PM

    Comment #117

    Haha ok OP well time will tell won’t it and I’m sure whoever is right will say so at that time

    1
  • Jamesthefirst

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:50 PM

    Comment #118

    On the Rafa question

    Steve Wraith said he spoke directly to one of Rafa’s reps and he was never approached to come back this season.

    If Ashley makes a change, it will be Bruce out and Jones until the end of the season. The sacked Luton manager will then be the Head Coach.

    3
  • Optimistic prime

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:54 PM

    Comment #119

    Mund

    Not at all, plenty have expected this all season.

    Fans have been pointing to this happening for 3 months, we’re sleepwalking into a relegation.

    Now, Fulham are breathing down our necks, as fans have been afraid of and “shouting about”

    How is that deluded or unbalanced?

    It’s actually called consistency!

    Many many have been calling this all season and the blip of wins from Everton and Southampton hasn’t changed their minds.

    You getting a job in the media?

    Today’s comments seem more akin to a journo than a fan.

    13
  • Jail for Ashley

    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:55 PM

    Comment #120

    Mund,
    Do you honestly think anyone will gloat if we go down and a takeover doesn’t happen?

    12


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