Steve Bruce has spoken to the press following Newcastle’s impressive 2-2 draw against Spurs. The head coach made some critical changes that sparked Newcastle to life after the troubling 3-0 defeat at Brighton two weeks ago.
First Bruce ditched the diamond formation for the 5-3-2, which was what he first utilized when he was appointed almost two years ago. Though today, the emphasis was getting up the pitch which the lads were able to do all match long.
The other area where Bruce went in another direction was the team selection. He brought three players in from the cold in Jacob Murphy, Matt Ritchie, and Sean Longstaff. All three played their part this afternoon.
There were also some conspicuous absences from the teamsheet. Ryan Fraser, Andy Carroll, and Federico Fernandez were all missing when the team was announced. Bruce has confirmed that all three were unavailable due to injury. Here is what Bruce had to say about the trio per Newcastle United’s Twitter account:
“Andy Carroll picked up a calf injury. Ryan Fraser picked up a groin injury while he was away with Scotland and hasn’t trained for a few days. Fede Fernández felt his calf again too.”
Hopefully, none of the three are too seriously injured and will be available for Burnley next weekend. That could also be when Callum Wilson returns from his hamstring injury.
Today we witnessed an excellent performance from Joelinton, who scored one and made the second with his headed flick back across the face of the goal. Miguel Almiron got a touch before Joe Willock launched the ball off the underside of the crossbar for the equalizer.
Bruce was thrilled with Joelinton’s exploits against Spurs. While he concedes that the Brazilian needs to put away more of his chances, he was a constant thorn in Spurs’ side today. Here is some of what Bruce said about Joelinton’s performance:
“He has had it tough but the one thing about Joe is he doesn’t shy away from it. Yes, we have to improve his goal tally but over a tough period he’s done very well in certain games. Today, arguably, was his best.”
Bruce also spoke about our other goal scorer, Joe Willock. The 21-year-old didn’t start for the first time since joining Newcastle. However, that may have provided some extra motivation as he got the leveler against his home club’s rivals.
This is what Bruce said about Willock’s performance as well as his reaction to not starting:
“I’m delighted for him. He wasn’t happy when he wasn’t in the starting line-up. However, he’s come on and got us the goal so I’m delighted he’s got one against Tottenham which will please him.”
Newcastle were vastly improved from Brighton and now Bruce has some decisions to make for Burnley. Will he go back to the 4-3-3 or keep with today’s formation? Also, Bruce now has competition for places with some of these performances.
It could be a competitive week of training as the lads prepare for the ultra-critical match at Burnley on Sunday. Hopefully, the lads will be able to carry some of today’s momentum with them to Turf Moor.
While the performance was promising and the point unexpected, Newcastle could still land in the bottom three by this evening. Fulham will jump us in the table with a win at Aston Villa today.
Bruce was pleased with the performance, however, he felt it was deserving of more than just a point. Ultimately, some poor defending and finishing could have cost Newcastle a momentous win. This was Bruce’s take on today’s result:
“I thought our performance was enough to win the match so there’s a tinge of disappointment. I was delighted with the response of the team. They kept at it and got something out of the game which was vitally important.”