A disappointed Steve Bruce has spoken to NUFC TV after today’s 2-0 defeat at home against Arsenal.
It was a self-destructive start as the Magpies were stagnant out of the box. Arsenal immediately pounced on the passive Magpies and found their breakthrough very early in the match.
Bruce wanted to take advantage of Arsenal’s congested schedule with them competing in Europe mid-week. However, the lads failed to show up and were soon down 1-0 in the opening minutes.
This was Bruce’s take on today’s proceedings:
“Sometimes you have to hold your hands up as Arsenal were better than us on the day. We knew to beat Arsenal we had to play well. We had to match where we’ve been and unfortunately we weren’t.
“The goal after four minutes set us back because the one thing we wanted to do was to start aggressively, be on the front foot against them because let’s be fair, they’ve been all over Europe this week.”
Newcastle showed very little in the first half as they struggled to fashion any chances. However, it wasn’t a complete collapse like we’ve seen on occasion this season. Newcastle were basically outplayed and outcoached and had no answers to turn the game around.
The second half was marginally better but Arsenal keeper Mathew Ryan was rarely ever tested. When the Gunners bagged their second goal, the sails went completely limp for the Magpies until very late in the match when they pushed forward with four strikers on the pitch.
Bruce said the following about our lack of a threat in the final third:
“Just after halftime, I thought we had our best spell of the game. But unfortunately, they went up the other end of the pitch and scored.
“We huffed and puffed all afternoon. We didn’t really have that penetration going forward like we have had of late.
“I thought Allan (Saint-Maximin) did all his best work too deeply. He went searching for the ball in deeper areas which is something we can work on and keep him higher up the pitch.”
Finally, Bruce bemoaned the lost opportunity today. A win would have seen Newcastle up to 13th in the table and 12 points clear of Fulham. However, the performance was nowhere near good enough for a result.
Bruce said the following when asked about getting as many points as possible to close the season:
“Of course, we have to. The disappointing thing for me is we could have been 13th today.
“We knew we had to play well. We didn’t. We didn’t play well enough to beat a very good Arsenal team on the day.”