Boss conning no-one when he says Toon are improving
DOUBTS PERSISTING OVER WHETHER SUMMER BUYS HAVE MADE TEAM BETTER
SOME of the things Steve Bruce has been coming out with have left me scratching my head in disbelief.
I mean, Newcastle United are supposed to be a work in progress improving season upon season and stats are supposed to have been twisted to suit any argument by his detractors.
Well, if Newcastle are improving under his guidance they must be on course to finish higher than 13th and their summer signings all supposedly better than what he had to help pull off such a lift off - but are they better?
Callum Wilson is – I will give Bruce that – but Ryan Fraser has been seen as often as Lord Lucan while Jamal Lewis is a young lad still very much learning his trade.
Which brings me to Jeff Hendrick. I cannot for the life of me see why he was signed.
What does he bring to the party that United did not possess in midfield players? Is he more inventive than what they had? No.
Is he a tougher midfield tackler winning the ball back for those who can play? No.
Hendrick is bang average at best and, what is worse, his presence has halted the progress of young Matty Longstaff because he has dropped down the pecking order.
When Matty was persuaded to stay at the club this summer United did not need Hendrick. Why keep the younger Longstaff and sign another midfielder?
Matty offers more than the Republic of Ireland international in terms of scurrying endeavour and finishing ability round the box.
United ought concentrating on developing the to be two Longstaff brothers rather than clogging up their path to progress.
Unless there is something we have not seen yet, Hendrick is joining Joelinton, Yoshi Muto and Christian Atsu who have been signed without the apparent ability to justify it.
However Bruce has kept on picking him and saying there is no need for concern.
Well right now Bruce is conning no-one.
It will take more than one win plucked out of the air to convince the faithful United are making steady progress.
It will take not only a run of good results but a vast improvement in performances because to Geordies their team is boring at best and downright painful to watch at worst.
Bruce has managed a whole lot of clubs but his worst stats – if we are allowed to mention stats – have been here in his native North East.
He had a 30 per cent win ratio at Sunderland and went into the game at Crystal Palace last night with a 33 per cent win ratio at United. That is one victory in three and if you work that out over a 38-game season it amounts to 36 points from wins. Nowhere near enough.
I believe Bruce has been unable to understand where recent criticism has come from.
I think he believes he has been picked upon for no justifiable reason. That is worrying.
He was brought up at Manchester United where Alex Ferguson was ruthless enough to get rid of his biggest names if it was to the benefit of the club, yet he has learned nothing.
Bruce was Fergie’s centre-half and skipper yet he lets Jamaal Lascelles dictate the way United’s back line plays.
It defends on the six-yard box because Lascelles wants bodies round him for protection against quick attackers.
What United now face is a make or break run-up to the New Year. It is up to Steve Bruce what he makes of it.
It will take more than one win plucked out of the air to convince the faithful United are making progress Supermac