NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 08: Federico Fernandez of Newcastle United scores his team's second goal during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Southampton FC at St. James Park on December 08, 2019 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)

The statistic that proves Steve Bruce's defensive tactics work – and Newcastle United's quality at the back

Newcastle United have one of the most organised, well-drilled defensive units outside of the Premier League big boys.

Steve Bruce can’t take all the credit for that – especially with almost all of the defenders used this season signed by Rafa Benitez and playing the Spaniard's well-worn system.

It may not seem like it to some, but there now seems to be a clear plan at United. They are a counter-attack team, happy to let the opposition dominate, while transitioning at pace to create disarray in the opposition half.

That system ask A LOT of the players in it. The striker must, at times, plough a lone furrow while midfielders and full-backs must press, cover and provide width at both ends. Defensively, too, this style of play ask a lot of those in the back three.

As a result Newcastle United have THREE players in the Premier League top 10 for interceptions per 90 minutes. Here’s who they are and where they rank...

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