Newcastle United: Dos and Don’ts for Steve Bruce next season

Steve Bruce, Manager of Newcastle United (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Steve Bruce, Manager of Newcastle United (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images) /

Steve Bruce led Newcastle United to 13th last season, but can he do better next term?

Whether fans like it or not, Steve Bruce will be calling the shots on the sideline for Newcastle United next season. The former Sheffield Wednesday boss faced enormous pressure last season as he had to replace Rafa Benitez, but he got the job done.

The Toon Army will set the bar high once again this season as they want to see the team set ambitious objectives and improve each year.

Bruce has some talented players at his disposal, and he will have some money to spend this summer, but does he have what it takes to send Newcastle United into the top ten?

Maybe. It all depends on how many lessons he learned during the 2019-20 campaign. That being said, here are some “Dos” and “Don’ts” for Bruce to make note of as he prepares the team for next season.

Do: Stick with the 4-2-3-1 Formation

  • Newcastle United looked so much better in the 4-2-3-1 shape. Defensive football was difficult to watch, but the change in tactics enabled the team to enjoy more possession, become more creative offensively, and score more goals. The team scored 10 of their 38 goals in Project Restart as a result of this new formation.
  • Players like Miguel Almiron, Allan Saint-Maximin, and Dwight Gayle benefited from this change, and it would not come as a surprise if they each come close to scoring in double figures in the upcoming campaign.

Don’t: Experiment Players Out of Position

  • Newcastle United have plenty of depth at each position, so there is no need to try and experiment players out of position. Bruce tried this several times last season and the idea simply failed, and led to some unnecessary blowouts that contributed to a -20 goal difference.
  • For instance, Fabian Schar should not have played in the middle of the park, Danny Rose and Emil Krafth should not have been used as central defenders, Isaac Hayden should not have started a few games on the back line, and Valentino Lazaro should not have started his loan spell as a wing-back. Some of you will might argue that Joelinton should not have been deployed as a center-forward for as long as he was.

Do: Maintain Style of Communication

  • One thing multiple players have praised Bruce for is his transparency. Bruce did well to get the players to follow his game plan, he made his expectations for each game crystal clear, and he did a good job of praising his key players.
  • That last point may seem a bit odd and basic to mention, but some players need that boost of confidence, just look at how well it worked out for players like Jonjo Shelvey, Miguel Almiron, and Dwight Gayle. Confidence from a manager, especially in public, works wonders for some.

Don’t: Overwork Allan Saint-Maximin

  • Allan Saint-Maximin is the most dynamic player in the squad, but the rest of the league has caught on to this. Towards the end of the season, the Magpies tried to orchestrate every attack through the Frenchman, but that needs to change next season.

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  • Saint-Maximin should be heavily involved in the action on the front line, but Bruce needs to work on improving the team’s ball movement to keep opposing defenders spread out rather than have them all close in on Saint-Maximin. Shelvey and Almiron have the skills and football acumen to lead meaningful attacks as well.