Why Steve Bruce deserves praise for Newcastle form
Background Image Via: Geograph/Steve Daniels. CC BY-SA 2.0.
Over the summer, Newcastle United's Steve Bruce appointment was met with predictable moans and groans. Once again, the managerial-merry-go-round was being tapped into rather than trying something fresh.
Magpies fans had gone from global icon Rafael Benitez to a Premier League basement-dweller. Expectations were unsurprisingly low, though fast-forward six months and Tyneside is a far happier place than it was last summer.
Bruce's side sits in twelfth place in the table, seven points and places ahead of the dreaded drop zone while having something to build upon. Allan Saint-Maximin has offered something positive while a loan signing for Danny Rose will shore up an unreliable back line. There's much to be hopeful about - despite the fact that Mike Ashley still remains in charge.
It's all down to Bruce and his back-against-the-wall mentality. The 59-year-old from Corbridge knows how to many an in-game situation correctly. He knows how to win when the pressure is on. Yes, Newcastle have remained somewhat unpredictable but that's expected from a side in transition. Huge victories against Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur show that the Magpies have what it takes to go toe-to-toe with the best - that's despite losing Ayoze Perez, their top league goal-scorer over the past two seasons. Joelinton may not have replicated the numbers of his Spanish counterpart though these days it's more of a team effort upon Tyneside.
Jonjo Shelvey is once again leading the way while Jamaal Lascelles continues to prove he's a rock at the back. Life is definitely made easier for Bruce as the underrated Martin Dubravka continues to make some truly unbelievable saves. It really is a group achievement rather than the one-man band.
After a slow start to the 2019/20 term from August through October, it would have been easy for Bruce to allow heads to drop. In the modern-day game, the manager tends to be the fall-guy at the first opportunity. At that time, I wouldn't have been totally surprised to read that Bruce had been sacked while reading my morning paper and drinking my first cuppa' tea of the day. Instead, through perseverance and sheer effort, Newcastle and Bruce have turned things around.
I must say, those fans upon Tyneside are amongst the best in the country, and it always amuses me seeing topless Geordie lads singing their hearts out for their team during the mid-winter chill. They truly are a different breed - and I mean that positively! Those supporters definitely make Bruce's job easier as they've backed him all the way.
At the end of the day, nobody expected Newcastle to be where they are right now. Bruce deserves more praise than he's getting for that. Results have improved as the season has progressed, as his squad becomes more accustomed to his tactics and mantra. Newcastle fans should be feeling positive about what the future holds, they aren't many bigger clubs on British shores and if the right backing (a big if) comes their way, Newcastle can definitely get themselves in amongst it.
Bruce may not be the man to take them all the way, though he's doing a stellar job right now. The squad is being culled of the dead-wood and filled with more quality. Even if he's the eventual fall-guy, Newcastle United are a club on the rise and Bruce is a huge reason why.