This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Speaking to Sky Sports, Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka has questioned Steve Bruce’s tactics following the embarrassing 5-0 defeat to Leicester.
The Magpies suffered their biggest loss of the Premier League season, and the result saw them stay rooted in the drop zone with just five points from their opening seven games.
Now, Dubravka has taken a thinly-veiled dig at Bruce for trying to change things too quickly at the club, and suggested the approach cost them dearly.
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He said: “It was a crazy, really bad defeat. We went to four defenders but I have to say it didn’t work. We’re used to playing with five at the back which probably fits us (better). But I understand that the manager is trying his own style. We’re trying what the gaffer is expecting of us, unfortunately it didn’t work this time.
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“What is the difference from last season? It’s hard to say, but we need to stabilise our performances. We can’t play like we did against Spurs one week then at Leicester the next. We have a new manager and we need time. It takes time to know what he wants to do. But I still think we have quality players in our squad.”
When a new manager arrives, it is understandable for them to want to imprint their own ideas and philosophy as quickly as possible. For Bruce, trying to follow up on Rafa Benitez was an enviable task. He may have even felt pressured to rip things up and completely get rid of the Spaniard’s mark on the team.
But ultimately, football is a results-based business. Newcastle hardly set the world alight last season, and attempting to overhaul what the players have gotten used to strikes of short-sighted management.
It should have been a far slower process, allowing them to acclimatise to a new way. Instead, Bruce’s desire to make this his ‘own team’ so soon caused their utter humiliation against Leicester last weekend.