Steve Bruce responds to questions on his Newcastle United tactics

Steve Bruce has revealed the “problem” with Newcastle United’s system against Chelsea.

Newcastle went behind to an early own goal from Federico Fernandez – and spent much of the game on the back foot. Tammy Abraham put the game beyond them with a second-half strike.

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Bruce, United’s head coach, used a 3-4-3 system – this was 5-4-1 when the team was out of possession – and they were “too deep” before the break.

Steve Bruce.

Asked about his team’s first-half performance, Bruce said: “We conceded. Unfortunately, that’s the fourth of fifth time we’ve took that in the first 10 minutes, which isn’t healthy in the Premier League, that’s for sure. It doesn’t give you that platform that you need.

"Unfortunately, in the first half, we went too deep. That’s the problem when you play the 3-4-3 like we tried to implement. It forced us back too deep. We were better second half, a bit higher up the pitch.

"In the big moments, unfortunately we couldn’t take one (a chance). Chelsea punished us as well (with their second goal).”

There was an online backlash from fans who had watched the behind-closed-doors Premier League fixture on TV at home.

“They’re frustrated because we can’t get a result,” said Bruce. “We’ve played three of the top six, and it’s been very difficult.

"There was lots to like about the second half, but I can understand the frustration because we went far too deep in the first half, which is always the problem when you try and play that way.

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“Unfortunately, we went far too deep in the first half, in particular. Second-half, we went higher up the pitch. We were better. We had some moments in the game. We didn’t make the goalkeeper work enough. We missed the target or hit the crossbar.

“Look, make no mistake, it was a really difficult day for us. We’ve still got a lot of work to do. We’ll go back to work on Monday morning."

Newcastle have taken 11 points from their first nine games.

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