Newcastle United's hierarchy 'unconcerned' by Steve Bruce move
Steve Bruce’s decision to give his Newcastle United players extra time off over the international break has been explained.
Bruce’s players were given an additional six days off following the relegation-threatened club’s shocking 2-0 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion on March 31.
The loss left the 17th-placed club just two points above the drop zone – and heaped more pressure on Bruce, who insisted that he wouldn’t resign after the game.
Bruce’s decision to give the squad more days off was questioned given the clear need for more work to be done on the training pitch to address the team’s poor form.
And the thinking of United’s head coach – who retains the backing of owner Mike Ashley – has been revealed ahead of Sunday’s home game against Tottenham Hotspur.
Bruce’s decision to give his players so many days off “did not concern” United’s hierarchy, according to the Daily Telegraph.
It’s claimed that a club investigation revealed that the players have had fewer days off this season than in each of the past five years at the same stage of the season.
However, the nature of this season’s fixture list – more games had to be crammed into a shorter calendar due to the delayed start to the season following summer football last year – will have limited the scope for days off.
Bruce has previously revealed that the club’s training schedule is drawn up by the club’s fitness and medical staff with a view to reducing the risk of losing tired players to fatigue-related injuries.
Speaking earlier this month after news broke of a training ground row with winger Matt Ritchie, Bruce said: “Now, it (criticism) is bordering on ridiculous. Look, we set the schedule last month with the doctors and sports scientists.
"The playing schedule this year has been totally ridiculous – we didn't have a day off for something like six weeks – so I don't even have to respond to that, because I just find that an absolutely absurd and obscene suggestion.
"It's laughable, but it makes a national newspaper headline again. It's just ridiculous.”
The club’s players had a shortened break last summer due to the coronavirus pandemic.