A startling truth about how Bruce’s tactics impact Newcastle United

Steve Bruce, Manager of Newcastle United. (Photo by Daniel Leal Olivas - Pool/Getty Images)
Steve Bruce, Manager of Newcastle United. (Photo by Daniel Leal Olivas - Pool/Getty Images) /

Steve Bruce’s negative tactics leave Newcastle United handcuffed when it comes to adjusting on the fly.

Newcastle United supporters are fed up with Steve Bruce’s tactics at their beloved club, rightfully so. His bunker down and counter approach is tough to watch and a far cry from Newcastle sides of the past that played an attractive brand of soccer. But, outside of the cosmetic issues, Bruce’s negative style has a major side effect that was on full display yesterday in the Magpies’ draw vs. Fulham.

Throughout the first half and into the second half, Newcastle were playing their usual “Bruce Ball”, deep defending and trying to get out on the break. They were down on the scoreboard and were the second-best side on the pitch. Then, Joachim Andersen gave away a penalty and was sent off for a foul on Callum Wilson. With the penalty converted, Newcastle was expected to put their foot on the gas with the man advantage.

But, they struggled to do so. Playing against a borderline regulation side with 10 men, the Magpies couldn’t find a winner at St. James’ Park. It was a comeback draw, but the point was not one to be celebrated.

For Newcastle, it’s tough to break those defensive habits. When you’re used to being so defensive and not carrying a lot of possession, you can’t simply flip a switch and start playing efficiently on the front foot. When the club either falls behind or goes up a man, it’s a tall task to become an offensive unit.

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To the media pundits and Bruce defenders that claim supporters’ criticisms are unfair, this is just another reason they aren’t. His tactics make for terrible viewing of a once exciting club and also handcuffs them when they need to put their foot on the gas.