According to the Chronicle as part of a brilliant Notebook article posted earlier today on all things Newcastle, Mike Ashley’s latest action is intended to be a message to the ‘disgruntled’ dressing room.
The Chronicle report that the controversial owner’s backing of Steve Bruce last weekend, as the side lost to Brighton and drifted further towards relegation, was a message to the club’s problem players.
It’s added that the Toon outfit’s hierarchy are of the firm belief that the players need to now ‘step up’ to avoid the drop, at a time when under-fire manager Steve Bruce has reportedly ‘lost’ parts of the squad.
The Chronicle outline that several ‘influential’ players have been left ‘deeply frustrated’ by a lack of game time, as well as some of Bruce’s public comments.
Earlier this week it emerged that senior strikers Andy Carroll and Dwight Gayle, who have seen little action this season and since the struggles have worsened, avoided post-match training after their snub.
It’s detailed that the appearance of managing director Lee Charnley at the team’s training ground on Tuesday was also a ploy used to reinforce the message from the top.
Newcastle have won just two of their last 18 Premier League fixtures, a dire run that has seen them lose 11 times and draw on five occasions. This has left them 17th and just two points clear of the drop zone.
The Chronicle also note that there was ‘disappointment’ towards the fact that more senior players from the group did not speak to the media after the defeat to Brighton, with Ryan Fraser the only one to show.
Ashley’s stern message may come too little and too late, especially in an age of player power though.
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With talk of an exit being expressed by a key player in Miguel Almiron just landing, it’s clear the notion hasn’t exactly been adhered to as well.
The Magpies simply haven’t shown that they have the credentials to avoid relegation so far, especially ahead of a seemingly improving Fulham side that have picked up seven points over their last fixtures.