'How long do you wait?': Steve Bruce addresses his biggest headache at Newcastle United
The statistics don’t make good reading. Newcastle United’s front three have scored just one goal between them in more than 57 hours of Premier League football.
Most of the club’s goals this season have come from defenders, but Steve Bruce – who has Andy Carroll, Dwight Gayle and Christian Atsu pushing for starts – isn’t yet ready to make a change.
Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron have pace, but no goals. Joelinton, meanwhile, hasn’t scored since opening his account in late August.
Bruce, however, will persevere with Joelinton, Saint-Maximin and Almiron, signed at a cost of almost £80million, against Manchester City at St James’s Park this afternoon.
“Yes, you could single out the front three (in Monday night’s 2-0 defeat to Aston Villa), but I didn’t think as a team, which is the most important thing for me, we played well enough and do enough,” said United’s head coach.
“The problem is creating the chances too in the Premier League, especially against the big teams and that will be the case (against City) as well.
“But let's hope one of them can produce a bit of magic – which they're capable of – and score a goal.”
Bruce knows that Joelinton, Saint-Maximin and Almiron will, ultimately, be judged on goals and assists.
The 58-year-old said: “The question is how long you do wait? They compliment the team, up to Villa, I was delighted with the front three.
“The threat they cause, and their contribution to the team, is what we look at. When they score, when we score, they’ll be fine.
“Before Villa, they were terrific, and I’ll keep persevering with him. Almiron has been away last two internationals (with Paraguay) and scored, but the more it goes on, the more it plays on any striker.
“They’re judged on goals and assists – and confidence drains away.
“Getting confidence is one way as a striker – by scoring a goal. Let’s hope one of them can make it a good afternoon for us.”