What happens when Steve Bruce turns off auto-pilot at Newcastle United this season?

Steve Bruce has performed above expectations at Newcastle United – but what happens when he turns off auto pilot?

Tuesday, 3rd December 2019, 4:45 pm
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 25: Newcastle manager Steve Bruce looks on during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Newcastle United at Villa Park on November 25, 2019 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 25: Newcastle manager Steve Bruce looks on during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Newcastle United at Villa Park on November 25, 2019 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

In a special fan blog, lifelong fan David Black assesses the performance of the United boss this season, but questions what happens next?

I was absolutely certain Newcastle would be in the bottom 3 at this stage of the season. The fixture list always looked a tough one and for all it is true that “you play everybody twice eventually” the reality is we had played all of last season’s top six before the calendar had even turned to December.

The fact we sit 14th and equidistant from 5th as we are 18th suggests we are entering the crunch time of the season which will shape our objectives for 2020.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

It’s not a position that flatters us either.

Our inconsistencies are there for all to see but I would say our form is generally on the up, albeit you have to take the rough with the smooth.

The goals aren’t exactly flowing but we are finding a way, at home especially, which has kept our points ticking over. For that, Steve Bruce and his staff deserve a lot of credit.

Like most of the fanbase I was gutted to see Rafa Benitez go and didn’t hold out much hope with the appointment of Bruce. The media have been quick to point out that we are better off points wise than this stage last season. You only need to compare the cost of the front three Bruce has at his disposal against what Benitez was given last season to see this is not exactly comparing like for like.

Bruce has spoken about wanting to put his stamp on the squad and make us more expansive, unfortunately whenever he has tried to do this we’ve seen performances like Norwich and Leicester.

By his own admission, he has reverted to “Rafa’s tactics” as the players know the system inside out.

Results have undoubtedly steadied since doing this, but where does that leave Bruce? Newcastle United are essentially on autopilot and there is bound to come a time where the manager wants to make this his team.