‘What do you not understand?’ Angry Newcastle boss Steve Bruce blasts back at his critics and furiously rejects any claim his team ‘lacks direction’ after having his tactics questioned
- Supporters have raised concerns over the lack of identity at Newcastle
- Steve Bruce took over at Newcastle 14 months ago, replacing Rafa Benitez
- Bruce has since hit back at his critics, launching a defence of his approach
- The Magpies host Burnley in the Premier League on Saturday evening
Steve Bruce has rejected criticism of his tactics at Newcastle United and asked those who question him: ‘What do you not understand?’
Supporters and observers have raised concerns over the lack of identity about Bruce’s side, 14 months on from him taking charge.
But Bruce has hit back, launching an irritated and passionate defence of his approach during a heated exchange with reporters on Friday.
Steve Bruce says he finds the notion of a lack of direction at Newcastle ‘deeply frustrating’
Bruce and his Newcastle side are gearing up for their Premier League clash against Burnley
‘I find it disappointing and deeply frustrating this thing about a lack of direction and tactics. What do you not understand?’ he began.
‘Since I’ve walked through the door I’ve said we will try to change. It’s been levelled at me there’s no direction, but I’ve played the same formation in five of the last six games.
‘We’re trying to change a team that sit deep in a back-five, to a forward-thinking back-four with two up top and a bit of pace in the wide areas.
‘How long will it take? I’m not too sure. I didn’t think we were ready for it last year, but I can’t understand what the raging debate is. Let’s not dissect it the way we are. I find it baffling, I really, really do.
‘Look, we haven’t played well enough, I’ll grant you that. We haven’t played with enough intensity and we’ve given the ball away cheaply.
Bruce was furious after having his tactics questioned and made his feelings known on Friday
‘But if you’ve watched us, what do you not understand in what we’re trying to do? All of a sudden now, it’s a raging debate. What’s the debate? There it is, that’s what we’re trying to achieve.’
It was pointed out that supporters can see the formation but the criticism is aimed more at style.
But Bruce said: ‘The style is a concern? So all of a sudden we have to think we’re Liverpool, do we? The style is we’re going from a back five to a back four, with one off the front.
‘We were stylish against Morecambe (7-0) and West Ham (2-0). We had 27 attempts against Newport (won on penalties). That’s what we’re trying to achieve. I think that would be pretty obvious if you were balanced about it.
‘All this stuff about tactics and no direction, I don’t feel that it’s balanced or right.’
Andy Carroll shows his dejection during Newcastle’s 3-0 home defeat against Brighton
Bruce has also forcefully rejected the suggestion that he has been lucky during his time at Newcastle.
‘If we win against Burnley (on Saturday) we might go into the top six, and it’s now because I’m lucky, I’m lucky! Wow!’ he said.
‘So I’ve been lucky for 20 years, have I? I look at the clubs I’ve managed and they were in a far healthier state than they are now – Sunderland, Hull, Birmingham.
‘To say now that I’m lucky, I just find that a little insulting. But I’ll keep trying to improve us and make us play better. That will take a bit of time unfortunately.;
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