Key things we learned about Newcastle United this season

Steve Bruce, Manager of Newcastle United speaks to his team. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Steve Bruce, Manager of Newcastle United speaks to his team. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images) /
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Newcastle United
Newcastle United (Photo by Glyn KIRK / POOL / AFP) /

Top 10 Was Within Reach

Newcastle United should have been a top ten team this season, especially with their favorable schedule to end the campaign, but they shot themselves in the foot. The Magpies finished the season with 44 points, but had they played with more urgency against mediocre, weaker teams they would have been knocking on the door of the Europa League.

Newcastle United did well to claim some positive results against the league’s best teams, but the number of points taken against bottom-half clubs, including two sides that were relegated is what held them back the most. This is something that absolutely must change next season. Looking at the numbers, here are a few matchups Bruce’s men wish they could re-play:

  • Norwich City (relegated): one point
  • Watford (relegated): one point
  • Aston Villa (17th): one point
  • Brighton (15th): one point

Steve Bruce: The Right Man for the Job?

Steve Bruce was heavily criticized as the manager of Newcastle United before his players even kicked a ball. Fast-forward to today and Bruce led this team to a comfortable mid-table finish despite being compared to Rafa Benitez every weekend, dealing with multiple injury crises, and dealing with the endless distractions of the pending takeover.

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Bruce was far from perfect in his first season in charge, but he did many things right, even if fans do not want to give him credit for it. In my opinion, the most important thing he did this season was stray away from the defensive 3-5-2 shape and promoted attacking football with three dynamic players behind the lone striker.

His greatest flaw was his inability to keep the team focused and motivated for every opponent. The talent is there for him to succeed as a manager, but inconsistency is what set his team back this season.

If the takeover falls through, then yes, Bruce is the right man for the job, although he needs to polish up that defense and stop respecting elite teams as much as he did this term.

If the takeover is approved, then Bruce would be lucky to be handed another audition on the sideline. The Toon Army are not content with finishing 13th for a third consecutive season, especially if big money from the Middle East enter the picture.

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The fans want ambitious objectives next season and that requires immediate results, which is something only a top manager can achieve in a competitive league like the Premier League.