'I can understand' - Sky Sports pundit sympathises with Newcastle United fans over frustration with Steve Bruce
Sky Sports pundit Sue Smith says she understands the frustration of Newcastle United fans ahead of tonight’s Premier League fixture at Arsenal.
Steve Bruce takes to the dugout for the first time since last Tuesday’s game at Sheffield United, where the 1-0 defeat heaped a significant amount of pressure on the Magpies head coach.
Fans were left extremely annoyed before and after the loss at Bramall Lane, viewing Bruce’s starting XI as too defensive, which ultimately showed in the result and the performance.
Newcastle are without a win in eight games and have scored just five goals in the process as they sit seven points above the relegation zone.
That said, Smith believes United could claim a surprise result at the Emirates, suggesting Bruce’s recent tactics are better suited against the so-called bigger clubs.
Speaking to the Sky Sports Football Show, Smith said: “I can understand the frustrations from the fans.
"Watching Newcastle against Sheffield United, the performance, particularly in that first-half, was really poor.
“Initially, you looked at the team selection and thought 'it's so negative against a side bottom of the table and a side who are struggling to score themselves'
“You just thought 'go and let the player express themselves and let them be a little more expansive' but that just didn't happen.
“But I watched them against Liverpool and I actually thought that was quite a positive result and performance, which worked well.
“This could be a game for Newcastle where they could actually go and get the win - I'm sure Newcastle fans would be absolutely delighted with that.”
Smith then echoed the views of the United fanbase: “I thought in the past, maybe the performances weren't good enough but they were scraping points.
"Now, the performances still aren't good enough and they're not getting the points.”
Her Sky colleague, Stephen Warnock added: “The players have to do more, Steve Bruce has to do more in terms of taking the shackles off a little bit.
“He's almost in a no-win situation at the moment because he's tried to play his way and it hasn't quite worked of late.
“I think the squad he possesses can do a lot more than what they're showing at the moment.”