It's too early to make a judgement on Steve Bruce – he needs more time at Newcastle United

It was brutal on the pitch at Carrow Road – and just as brutal off the field on social media.

Thursday, 22nd August 2019, 11:45 am
Updated Thursday, 22nd August 2019, 11:45 am
Steve Bruce.

Newcastle United’s 3-1 defeat to Norwich City led to calls from fans for Steve Bruce to go – just two games into the season.

Bruce – who has signed a three-year deal at the club last month – may well need to go this season, but not now, not yet.

I was critical of the club following Rafa Benitez’s departure – and also questioned the appointment of Bruce.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

But Bruce, like every one of his predecessors, deserves a chance at St James’s Park. It’s too early to make a judgement.

The 58-year-old, it was claimed this week, has been “stung by the level of vitriol thrown at him, particularly since the Norwich loss”. United’s head coach, certainly, looked stung by the performance when he spoke to journalists at Carrow Road.

This quote, in particular, was telling – and troubling.

“I can't go onto the pitch with them, but the one thing in management I've always tried to instil into my team is we make mistakes, but I can't forgive a performance where basically you don't put your boots on,” said Bruce. “Unfortunately, it's happened already, but I'll do all I can to make sure that changes.”

Rafa Benitez.

Things need to change, though the odds are against an upturn against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

And it’s the home game against Watford, also without a point, on August 31 that will give us a better idea of just how competitive Newcastle, favourites for relegation with bookmakers, will be under Bruce this season.

Bruce, however, has a problem before that game. There’s a Carabao Cup tie against Leicester City at St James’s Park three days earlier – and Bruce has already pledged to have a go in the cups. He’s boxed in by that promise. Will his team come out fighting? Time will tell.

There are certainly lessons to be learnt from Steve McClaren’s disastrous tenure in 2015/16, when the club didn’t act swiftly enough. They waited until March to dismiss McClaren, who should have gone earlier.

Steve McClaren.

For now, though, Bruce – like the club’s new signings – needs more time.