Newcastle held strong against Manchester United for around 70 minutes yesterday. But fatigue set in and the class of the hosts just proved too much to handle for The Magpies. The Red Devils piled on with some late goals for a 4-1 win, which wasn’t an accurate reflection of the match.
However, that was the final score as Newcastle’s defense again looked like a sieve. We’ve now conceded an average of three goals a game over our first four league matches. After not strengthening on deadline day, there is much work to be done if Newcastle are going to pull themselves out of this mire.
There were some positives at Old Trafford yesterday. The ultra-disciplined gameplan was working quite well until Freddie Woodman spilled a deflected shot from Mason Greenwood into the path of Ronaldo. It was Freddie’s first big mistake in goal for Newcastle and it cost us big time.
However, the lads fought back in the second half to level the match with a superb goal from Javier Manquillo, his first in a Newcastle shirt. But as we’ve seen so often this season, our opponents were quick to answer to burst the short-lived bubble.
Ronaldo put The Red Devils in front again after a quick counter. Woodman should have done better as the ball, which was well struck, went through his legs. It was a difficult afternoon for the young goalkeeper.
Then the class of the hosts took over the proceedings as Newcastle ran out of gas. They put two more in for the lopsided win. The afternoon turned from hesitant hope into complete darkness.
After the match, Bruce was pleased with some aspects of the performance but again expressed disappointment with the defense. Here is what he said as published in The Mail:
“There were a lot of positives to take out of the performance, but defensively we’re not doing enough.
“It’s a shame because up to half-time I can’t remember our keeper making a save. We get punished by a little deflection and the goalkeeper spills it and Ronaldo has tap-in which is cruel on us.”
Unfortunately, that was not the extent of Bruce’s post-match comments as he clashed with some local journalists during an online press conference. The pressure seems to be getting to the head coach as once again a section of fans jeered him with ‘Bruce Out’ chants.
Miles Starforth of The Shields Gazette asked Bruce about those chants. This time Bruce didn’t give a magnanimous response. He expressed his displeasure with the question saying the following:
“What can I say to that? What do you want me to say? I’m delighted about it? I can’t comment on that, I’m sorry.”
It was Lee Ryder’s turn next. When the Chronicle’s lead writer’s name was called, Bruce’s countenance changed and you could tell the answer wasn’t going to be pretty. It wasn’t.
Ryder asked Bruce about the preparation for the match and him taking a holiday for the first week of the international break. Ryder phrased the question as from the fans and not necessarily him. However, Bruce’s response left no doubt to his feelings of the newspaper’s coverage of his tenure.
This was some of Bruce’s response to Ryder:
“I really have to answer that to you. That’s what the fans are asking are they? It’s typical of the questions I get off you.
“We trained all week, we were in every day. Our preparation was meticulous, let me tell you.
“What was I supposed to do when I had six of them away? The preparation was fine. You can see the game plan we worked to.”
It’s unfortunate that Bruce reacted this way as it pushes much of the positives from yesterday’s match into the background. While the final 20 minutes may have already done that, Bruce has to drop these personal clashes with journalists. It doesn’t help him nor this team whatsoever.
You can watch the exchanges with The Athletic’s Chris Waugh, The Shield Gazette’s Miles Starforth, and The Chronicle’s Lee Ryder below.