Steve Bruce doesn't have time on his side at Newcastle United
Newcastle United’s defeat at Carrow Road was troubling, but is Steve Bruce himself already in trouble?
Certainly, many fans fear that the club will be in trouble this season.
It’s still early, very early, in the season, but there are a lot of problems for Bruce to address at St James’s Park.
Bruce, judging by Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to Norwich City at Carrow Road, has got problems up front, in midfield and at the back.
Steve McClaren jokingly conceded after one pre-season defeat during this tenure that his team didn’t score enough goals – and conceded too many. No-one was laughing late that season when the club was relegated.
Some fans have already seen enough from United under Bruce.
Rafa Benitez, his predecessor, built an organised and disciplined team during his time at the club.
Newcastle, however, were anything but that at Carrow Road. Defensively, the team was all over the place. The midfield was found wanting, and an isolated Joelinton had a forgettable afternoon before limping off the pitch with a hip injury.
The club didn’t win for 10 games last season, yet they were competitive. Benitez stayed calm and trusted the process. So did the fanbase, and that was just as important. Bruce, we know, hasn’t got that trust.
United improved, over time, and finished 13th in the Premier League, despite the ludicrous insistence from owner Mike Ashley last summer that Benitez would have to sell to buy after he refused to sign a new deal before agreeing a transfer budget.
The club, which has lost the Premier League experience – and goals – of Salomon Rondon and Ayoze Perez has spent money this summer, but was it spent wisely? Time will tell.
Bruce’s reaction is all-important now. Will he stay calm? The 58-year-old needs time, but there’s an impatience on Tyneside. They don’t trust Bruce to answer the questions that are being asked of him as a manager.
Bruce wants to new deals to the likes of Isaac Hayden, Jamaal Lascelles, Martin Dubravka and Matt Ritchie. They can get Bruce – and Newcastle – out of trouble, but Bruce doesn’t have time on his side. He needs results – and quickly.