This is what should worry Steve Bruce at Newcastle United
The solution to Newcastle United’s problems must come from inside the four walls of the dressing room.
This is because the transfer window is long closed, and the club’s hierarchy is not minded to make a managerial change with the club 17th in the Premier League and three points above the relegation zone.
The change, it seems, must come from within.
There’s been an improvement in performances – and, importantly, two wins – since assistant Graeme Jones arrived in late January after a run of 11 games without a victory.
There was a lot to discuss after Saturday’s 1-1 home draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Firstly, there were the injuries suffered by Allan Saint-Maximin, Miguel Almiron and Emil Krafth, and then there was the communication breakdown shortly before Ruben Neves scored the visiting team’s equaliser.
Certainly, the injuries to Saint-Maximin and Almiron are worrying given their importance to a team which is already having to cope without leading scorer Callum Wilson.
Then there was the post-match fallout. Jamaal Lascelles – who had scored Newcastle’s goal – didn’t hide his frustration at the communication mix-up when he spoke to the media.
Bruce appeared to blame substitute Matt Ritchie for not passing on tactical instructions in his interview, and was also critical of his team’s failure to stop the cross for Neves’ header. Martin Dubravka, recalled to the starting XI, will have been “disappointed” that he didn’t stop Neves’ well-placed header.
Of course, United’s head coach – who also spoke about the “big, huge opportunity” missed by Joelinton – could have issued the instructions himself given that the stadium was empty.
Bruce – who gave his players today off ahead of a week of preparations for Sunday’s game against West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns – has been critical of a number of players this season.
It’s hard to argue with a lot of that criticism, but Bruce is culpable too. It’s his responsibility to prepare the team every week – and get his message across during games.
Bruce, of course, hasn’t reacted well to some of the criticism directed at him from the media and fans – and the reaction of these players to his latest post-match comments will be all-important.