'Really?': Steve Bruce's response to Newcastle United player's worrying statistic at Arsenal

Just three of Joelinton's 37 touches at Arsenal were registered in the opposition box.
(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

That was the worrying statistic put to Newcastle United head coach Steve Bruce after the 4-0 hammering at the Emirates.

And it was something that seemingly had taken the 59-year-old a bit by surprise.

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"In the opposition box? Really? Seems a strange stat," Bruce responded.

The Brazillian was subject to further criticism on Sunday after his Premier League goal drought showed no signs of ending.

One goal in 26 league appearances is certainly an unwanted record but Bruce continued to defend his record signing.

“We’d all like him (Joelinton) to have 12 or 15 (goals). I was pleased with his performance again.

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"He does a lot of unselfish work outside the box, but we have to now find a way of getting him into the box for the crosses that Allan put in.

"He’s played a lot of his career to a side and not played as an out-and-out number nine. He’s 22 and there’s a lot he has to learn.

"But the way he played again today was good, although all strikers are obviously judged by scoring a goal."

Bruce added: "We have to find a way of scoring more and certainly, Joe needs to be more selfish.

"In my opinion, he has to probably stay in the 18-yard box. As I said for the team, he is a great team player but your centre forward is always judged on how many goals you scored.