It’s got to be tough taking over a club when everybody knows you’re an incredibly unpopular choice. Even worse when you’re replacing someone genuinely loved by the fans. Then add to that a potential takeover of the club with a huge name manager being touted at your successor.
It sounds like Steve Bruce is feeling some pressure at Newcastle as rumours of a potential take over continue. The Sun reported that Peter Kenyon was in talks to buy the club and has ambitions to bring in Jose Mourinho as manager if it goes through.
Clearly the pressure is on Bruce, so he needs to change something. A report in The Guardian suggested that Bruce was coming under criticism for players being confused at his constantly changing tactics.
In response Bruce said: “I think it’s the biggest insult I can have. Graham Potter changed Brighton’s formation four times during last week’s game [a 0-0 home draw]. Graham’s radically changed Brighton’s style and I want to change my team’s too, but I won’t do it radically. It’ll be gradual, it won’t be overnight.”
He went on to suggest: “Last season Newcastle were second bottom of the Premier League in the respect of keeping possession. If we’re to improve, it’s something we have to get better at – we have to keep the ball better.”
It’s clearly a suggestion that he wants to bring a possession style of play to Newcastle, but it’s also a fairly obvious dig at Rafa Benitez and his style from last season. The Spaniard set his teams up to defend and try to nick something on the break in a lot of games.
In a way it’s an intelligent option from Bruce to try and offer something neither Benitez or Mourinho would. They both prefer a defensive style of play which isn’t the most exciting at times.
If he can pull it off then it can only be good news for anybody watching. The question is, does anybody really trust Steve Bruce to set up an effective and successful side capable of playing attractive football?