Christian Atsu reveals his view on Steve Bruce's tactics after a memorable return for Newcastle United
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.
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.
“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.”
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).
“I’m very happy that we won the game. This is the most important thing.”
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.”