Christian Atsu reveals his view on Steve Bruce's tactics after a memorable return for Newcastle United

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Christian Atsu says that Newcastle United's players are behind Steve Bruce – whatever formations he plays.

Bruce's side beat Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 yesterday thanks to a goal from Joelinton.

The win, the first of Bruce's tenure at the club, came after a week of criticism following Newcastle's 3-1 Premier League defeat to Norwich City the previous weekend.

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Bruce, United's head coach, changed to a 5-4-1 formation at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

And Atsu – who came off the bench in the 17th minute after Allan Saint-Maximin suffered a recurrence of a hamstring injury – felt the system worked perfectly.

“The formation worked," said the winger, who missed pre-season with the hamstring injury he suffered while away at the Africa Cup of Nations with Ghana.

"We defended well. We’re a very good team. This is going to change a lot of things for the players and the fans. The season is a long season, so we just need to carry on. Any formation that he wants to play, we are behind him. We’re going to give everything.

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“The atmosphere’s very good. Even when we lost the two games, he was very confident. I can say, gradually, we’re really understanding his gameplan. We’re very organised and always behind him. This is going to change the atmosphere.”

Christian Atsu.Christian Atsu.
Christian Atsu. | 2019 Getty Images

Atsu – who set up Joelinton's goal with a clever ball to the striker on the edge of the box – had only trained for three days ahead of the game.

“I think even the manager wasn’t expecting for me to come on at that time," said Atsu.

"But I was on the bench, so anything can happen. It was unfortunate that we had an injury and I had to come on. I had to give everything. I didn’t train for a long time. He hasn’t seen me (in pre-season).

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“I’m very happy that we won the game. This is the most important thing.”

Steve Bruce.Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce. | Getty Images

On Joelinton's goal, Atsu added: “He has very good movement. He tries to do opposite movement. He tried to come and receive the ball, then he ran behind the defence and I saw the move. He’s a very good striker. One chance and then he scored.”