Steve Bruce explains costly communications breakdown at Newcastle United as Jamaal Lascelles seeks explanation

Steve Bruce has spoken about the communication breakdown that cost Newcastle United two points.

Bruce’s side remain deep in relegation trouble after last night’s 1-1 draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Newcastle, dominant before the break, led through a second-half strike from captain Jamaal Lascelles. However, Ruben Neves equalised with a header after Matt Ritchie replaced Emil Krafth. The result left 17th-placed United four points above the relegation zone.

There was a tactical change following Ritchie’s 72nd-minute introduction, but the instructions from the bench didn’t get to all the players, according to Bruce.

And Bruce – who lost Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin to injuries during the game – was unhappy that the cross from Pedro Neto wasn’t stopped.

United’s head coach, assisted by Graeme Jones since late last month, also felt that Martin Dubravka, recalled to the starting XI, should have got a firmer hand to Neves’ header. Also, Isaac Hayden, switched to right-back following Krafth’s withdrawal, didn’t track Neves.

"The instructions didn't get on to the team quick enough on how we were doing it," said Bruce. "When you look at the goal, we should have stopped the cross, and when the keeper looks at it, could he have done better?"

Lascelles – whose previous Premier League goal came come against Wolves at St James’s Park in October 2019 – was asked about the mix-up after the game.

Graeme Jones, left, and Steve Bruce.

“I’m not too sure (what happened),” said Lascelles. “We’re going to go in and speak about that now, because I’m not sure myself.”

Lascelles added: “I thought we were the better team, created a lot of chances, but we need to do better in front of goal – and that’s cost us. We had chances you dream of having – and didn’t put them away.”

There was a communication breakdown during Bruce’s first game in charge at the start of last season.

Jetro Willems briefly took up the wrong position on his debut against Arsenal after replacing the injured Jonjo Shelvey.

Speaking at the time, Bruce said: “It was just a lack of communication with him. He only played there for two minutes, really, until we got the information down about where we wanted him to play. That was quickly sorted out, not a problem.”

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