Steve Bruce’s future, the new owner’s first week under spotlight and Newcastle United’s defensive woes: Everything discussed by Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher on Monday Night Football
Newcastle United dominated the conversation on Monday Night Football.
As has become a staple in any football fan’s diary, Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher appeared on Monday Night Football on Sky Sports last night to dissect the weekend’s Premier League action.
Unsurprisingly, off-field developments at St James’s Park took centre stage at the beginning of the programme as the pair debated everything from the completed Newcastle United takeover, to speculation surrounding Steve Bruce’s future as manager.
Here, we take a look at what was said by Neville and Carragher on Monday Night Football following a major week on Tyneside.
Steve Bruce’s future
Newcastle’s 3-2 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday left Bruce’s side in 19th place and they are still to taste victory this campaign.
Ever since the new owners took charge at St James’s Park, speculation surrounding Bruce’s future as Newcastle United boss has increased with even Bruce himself telling The Telegraph: “I want to continue, I’d like the chance to show the new owners what I can do, but you have to be realistic and they may well want a new manager to launch things for them. New owners normally want a new manager.”
Bruce was in the dugout for his 1,000th game as a manager on Sunday, however, Neville slammed the way the Newcastle boss has been treated during his time on Tyneside, claiming it could be classed as ‘employment abuse’:
"I think this situation with Steve Bruce is totally wrong.” Neville said.
"If this was any other industry, it will be classed as employment abuse as the employer would be in serious trouble. You have got to demonstrate decency - that's not just the new owners at Newcastle, it's the ones before who had him as a lamb to the slaughter or an umbrella to stop the rain coming on their heads.
"Think about it in your own walk of life - if you're a lawyer, or an accountant or an electrician and you are being treated like this.
“Think about all the things that have happened in the last few weeks, the leaks, it is not fair on a brilliant man. A brilliant football man. A great player. A manager who has had 1,000 games - he deserves to be treated with decency.
"Steve Bruce will get the craic - if you are going to sack him, pay him up the full money, don't resist it, do the right thing and move on. If you aren't going to sack him, tell him and be clear so at least the fans can start having a go at you.
“Stop using Bruce as a shield for criticism at your football club,” he added.
Reflections on the first week
Carragher supported Neville’s criticisms of the new owners at St James’s Park since arriving on Tyneside.
"I think the ownership have had a really poor week. Newcastle supporters are delighted but the club have messed up the managerial situation. If you wanted to sack Steve Bruce, sack him. That was a mess.” Carragher said.
"Also, they've got a lot of criticism in the press for human rights issues so what they've done is try to curry favour in the press with local journalists who know the area well. Feeding them information about how they are going to sack Steve Bruce. You don't tell people a story like that about a man like Steve Bruce who has been in the game 25 years.
"If he's getting abuse off the Newcastle crowd, that's fair game, but an ownership shouldn't be coming in and feeding stories. It's a rocky road.
“As for when Steve Bruce goes, the journalists will be asking them questions about who is coming in next, and what about when that manager goes through a bad spell? They will always want to be drip-fed that information. You should come in as a proper organisation and run the business right from top to bottom.
"If that means getting rid of Steve Bruce, do it, and do it now or tomorrow. I just think the way they've gone about it hasn't been a great start,” he added.
Defensive issues slammed
Whatever the long-term aim for the new owner’s project at Newcastle may be, the short-term aim must be to ensure the club are playing Premier League football next season.
According to Carragher, this may be a struggle for the new owners however and he believes they have ‘major work’ in ensuring Newcastle’s Premier League survival: “They’ve got major work in terms of keeping this team up - it is one of the worst teams in the Premier League.
“Certainly on the evidence of what we’ve seen so far this season, they’re going to have a fight on their hands.”
Carragher went on to label the Newcastle defence as a ‘Championship back four’ and believes that they will need recruits in January to improve their squad.
“They’ve conceded more goals than anyone in the Premier League with 19 goals [conceded].
“They either don’t get pressure on the ball in midfield or people get in behind the midfield and they’re at the back four.
“These players [Javi Manquillo, Jamaal Lascelles, Ciaran Clark and Matt Ritchie] were all playing in 2017 in the Championship for Newcastle - they’re not good enough for this level.
Carragher continued: “They are going to need three or four defenders in January to stay up, there’s no doubt about that,” he added.