'Out of order' – Former Newcastle United coach hits back at training schedule accusations
Steve Agnew, assistant coach to Steve Bruce at Newcastle United, says accusations surrounding their training programme was “out of order”.
In the latter stages of Bruce’s tenure on Tyneside, much was made about the number of days off – and Agnew has furiously addressed those claims.
Agnew and Stephen Clemence followed Bruce out of the door at St James’s Park earlier this week having assisted Graeme Jones during his three-game interim spell.
Jones stayed as Eddie Howe brought with him a new backroom staff, including Jason Tindall, Stephen Perches, Simon Weatherstone and fitness coach Dan Hodges.
Agnew insists day-offs came after advice from the sports science team.
He told the Daily Star: “As a coaching team, we worked tirelessly in a bid to improve the squad.
“Whether it was on the training pitch, watching videos, analysing data or just discussing tactics, we certainly put the hours in.
“To say there were too many days off or that the players got off lightly is out of order.
“Whenever we did give them time off, it was only after taking advice from the sports scientists.
“Of course, you’re always judged on results and the fact is this season we knew we were under the pump because it just didn’t happen for us.
“Good luck to Eddie and his team. It’s an exciting time and we wish him all the best.”
Meanwhile, Agnew has backed Bruce to return to management after reaching his 1,000th game in the final match as Toon head coach against Tottenham Hotspur.
Bruce hinted that Newcastle could be his last job, but Agnew isn’t convinced that will be the case.
“Steve still has a lot to offer,” Agnew added. “His passion for the game is still there so it wouldn’t surprise me if he came back.
“What seems to be forgotten is his eye for talent.
“During his time at Hull and then Aston Villa, he signed the likes of Harry Maguire, Andy Robertson, John McGinn and Jarrod Bowen for relative peanuts so you’d think plenty of owners would be interested in someone with that record.
“And his man-management skills are second to none.”