Steve Bruce signals big shift in policy at Newcastle United
Steve Bruce says he wants to end Newcastle United’s dismal cup record – and take the club to Wembley.
The furthest Benitez took the club in the cups during his three years at St James’s Park was a League Cup quarter-final against Hull City in 2016.
Newcastle have never got beyond the fourth round of the FA Cup since Mike Ashley bought the club 12 years ago.
Benitez – who felt that he didn’t have a strong enough squad to compete on more than one front – prioritised the Premier League and fielded weakened teams in a number of cup ties.
However, Bruce – who guided Hull to the FA Cup final in 2014 – believes he can keep the club in the top flight and have a cup run.
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United’s head coach said: “I realised it at Hull. We got to the FA Cup final, and if you ask the supporters what their biggest day was, getting into the Premier League or getting to the FA Cup final, and they’d say the final.
“Surely, as a club, we can win five games. If the draw is kind to you, like it was at Hull ... that’s got to an aim. Can we win a cup tie? Can we do well in the League Cup or the FA Cup?
“That’s got to be an aim. It’s not just about staying in the division and being happy with that – that would be wrong. We’ll try and use that avenue if we possibly can.
“I’m not really bothered what’s been done before. I can understand the philosophy of it, but my perception of it all changed at Hull.
“No disrespect to Sheffield United, who were in Division One in the semi-final. We played Sunderland in the quarter-finals, and they put the reserves out.
“The draw was kind to us. We were 2-0 up in the Cup final against Arsenal. We nearly won it. My perception of it changed too. Hull supporters had the best day out in their lives. That’s got to be a route, and that’s what we’ll try and do.”