'You want them to attack teams' - Sky pundit hits out at 'frustrating' Newcastle

Sky Sports pundit Simon Francis has admitted that he is often left frustrated by Newcastle United’s conservative approach to matches under Steve Bruce.

Tuesday, 12th January 2021, 1:57 pm
Steve Bruce. (Photo by Scott Heppell - Pool/Getty Images)

The Magpies are currently 15th in the Premier League table having failed to win any of their last five top flight games, and have averaged just 41.6% possession this term – the lowest figure in the division.

That tendency to err on the side of passivity has led to outpourings of frustration from some sections of the fanbase, and Francis has been quick to echo those sentiments.

Speaking on Sky Sports News’ Football Show, the ex-Bournemouth defender said: “When I look at that Newcastle squad, and the team that goes out to play in the Premier League or in the cup competitions, I see an exciting team that can create chances and score goals.

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"Obviously, Saint-Maximin’s had his problems this season, but they’ve got Ryan Fraser coming back from injury, Matt Ritchie, who’s got excellent delivery from wide areas, and then Callum Wilson.

"For me, it’s frustrating when I watch them play, because they sit back against a lot of teams – even teams in mid-table and below, and you just want them to be more expansive. You want them to attack teams more.

“Understandably, against the top teams they try and sit back and hit them on the break, but that said, if it wasn’t for Callum Wilson this season, they’d be right in it. I think they’d be in a lot of trouble.

"He’s been excellent for them, scoring the goals that he has.”

Francis played alongside Fraser, Ritchie, and Wilson during his own spell with Bournemouth.