After another loss, Steve Bruce resorted to trying to change the narrative rather than accept responsibility.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that Newcastle United are struggling. They were underwhelming in a win vs. West Brom, got blown out by Leeds, settled for a draw with 10-man Fulham, got bounced by Brentford of the Championship, and barely played a part in a loss vs. Manchester City.
Rather than admit that his tactics put his club in a tough spot in nearly every match, Bruce decided to try and change his own story to give himself some cover after the Boxing Day loss.
After stating earlier this season that the club’s realistic goal was to finish top ten, he now claims that his job is to keep Newcastle United from getting relegated.
Of course, relegation would be a disaster for Newcastle, but they currently sit in 12th and aren’t expected to struggle to survive in the Premier League. Bruce is trying to set the bar lower for himself and make it seem like he accomplished a goal by keeping the club up. Rafa Benitez truly had to battle for Premier League survival during his time and Bruce seems to be trying to put himself in that same situation, despite it not being true.
But, the Toon Army isn’t buying that and they shouldn’t. This club isn’t so bereft of talent that they must go out there simply trying to hold on every match. Yes, the club has been handcuffed by COVID-19 with players still dealing with lasting symptoms, including the absence of Jamaal Lascelles and Allan Saint-Maximin. However, there are enough talented players on the roster that they can surely put the pedal to the metal more often.
Bruce also criticized “histrionics” as “quite ridiculous at times” after the club’s loss to Brentford. It’s not unfair for the supporters and media to expect Newcastle United NOT to lose vs. a second division side in a cup match. Supporters also understand the club won’t be battling for a Premier League title this season, but they rightfully would like some ambition.
The maligned manager’s position doesn’t seem to be in jeopardy yet, but Mike Ashley can only afford to look away for so long. It’s time for Bruce and his excuses to hit the road.