Isaac Hayden identifies a big tactical problem at Newcastle United

Isaac Hayden says Steve Bruce HAD to change tactics – as he doesn’t have a player like Salomon Rondon.

Monday, 2nd March 2020, 6:00 am

Bruce changed his formation for Saturday’s home game against Burnley, which ended goalless.

Newcastle United’s head coach had adopted the defensive, counter-attacking tactics used by Rafa Benitez, his predecessor, after a 5-0 defeat to Leicester City in September.

Rondon, a player comfortable with his back to goal, expertly led the line last season while on loan from West Bromwich Albion.

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Andy Carroll, re-signed as a free agent last summer, is the only player Bruce has in that mould, and he’s been injured for much of the season.

“People don’t realise last season the reason why the formation worked so well was because Salomon Rondon was a massive part of that,” said Hayden. “You could hit the ball 40 yards to his chest, and he would knock four players off the ball.

“We don’t have that this season. That’s maybe a reason why things haven’t worked as well in that formation. We’ve tried to find a formula with different players, playing the same way, and managed to get some good results playing in that way.

“For whatever reason, it hasn’t worked I the last few weeks. You can see there are positive signs there to work on for the future.”

Isaac Hayden against Burnley.

Newcastle signed Joelinton for £40million last summer. However, the 22-year-old is suited to playing up front on his own, and Bruce switched him to the left for the Burnley game.

“When you are players you understand the ins and outs of it, the manager last year wanted to play a certain style of football, a certain way, so he needed a certain type of player,” said Hayden, who was recalled to the starting XI.

“He wanted Rondon, and there was a reason for that. That’s why the formation worked last year.

“We’ve changed personnel this season. You have to work out different ways to play, which we have done. Andy’s been fit sometimes, and has done that role well.

“Big Joe’s played a lot of minutes in that role. For a someone coming from a foreign country with a lot of expectation on him, it can be hard.”