Withdrawn Miguel Almiron, Joelinton support & more – the FIVE key tactical tweaks by Steve Bruce at Newcastle United

Steve Bruce likened his celebration of Miguel Almiron's goal to that of Jose Mourinho while Porto manager at Old Trafford – and much like the Portuguese he showed considerable tactical nous in his side's Crystal Palace win.

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 21: Miguel Almiron of Newcastle United celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's first goal during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Crystal Palace at St. James Park on December 21, 2019 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 21: Miguel Almiron of Newcastle United celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's first goal during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Crystal Palace at St. James Park on December 21, 2019 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

But what were the key changes that won the day for the Magpies? Here our writer Liam Kennedy takes a look at the tactical tweaks made by Bruce.

Tweak one: Withdrawn Miguel Almiron

Bruce talked of some research into the role played by Almiron at Atlanta United and a want to use him in that position. As a result Almiron was dropped into a central midfield three with licence to break from deep and roam. He was simply excellent. The extra space allowed him to cause havoc going both ways.

Tweak two: Support for isolated Joelinton

Dropped out of the frontline last weekend, Joelinton was back up there against Palace.

And while he was still someway off what you'd expect of a £40million frontman, there are signs that he likes the support of Andy Carroll, rather than being asked to plough a long furrow. Needs to keep improving though, because he has proved very poor value for money for United so far.

Tweak three: Bin the long ball, despite Andy Carroll presence

Carroll and Joelinton were a hulking presence up top for United, but the Magpies resisted the temptation to go too long on the day.

Plenty of balls went wide to Javier Manquillo and Paul Dummett on the left but few direct to the front – one of the key criticisms of the Burnley loss last weekend.

Tweak four: Football from the back on both sides

The return of Florian Lejeune changes United's threat from the back for any opposition

Not only can Fabian Schar play from the right, Lejeune is just as good on the left.

For me, the best all round defender in United’s ranks. Showed some ring rust after nine months out but a silky performer.

Tweak five: The Isaac Hayden advance

This was a key difference in the performance but it had limited success.

United pushed Hayden much further forward than he has played recently and it worked for the opening half hour with the midfielder’s bursting runs down the right causing all kinds of problems.

Hayden faded somewhat and was later withdrawn, but with the ball he was much more advanced than previously, allowing Jonjo Shelvey to play the pivot role Bruce wanted him to play in the summer.