For all the statistics flying around at the moment and despite the poor displays from much-maligned Newcastle United in the last two Premier League games – their return of four points is the best tally from the first three games since 2013/14. Steve Bruce has not tried to disguise the iffy performances against both Brighton & Hove Albion or Tottenham Hotspur, but instead has faced up to the need for improvement. The draw with Spurs was actually Bruce’s 50th in charge of Newcastle with 17 wins, 15 draws and 18 defeats to his name so far. United, though, could reach their second quarter-final in the space of two seasons with Bruce the first Toon manager for some time to truly treat the cups with respect and field strong sides.
Steve Bruce said “The one thing that I have learned at Newcastle is that you get questioned if you don’t perform well or you get beat. Everything is questioned. The simple facts were, there was nothing wrong with us at Morecambe, I know it’s Morecambe, but the way we played and style we played was not considered or talked about. But you don’t play well enough, and I understand it, you get questioned. I don’t think it has anything to do with the style of play. I do want to change. We want to go from a back five which we’ve been known for. I want to get to a back four. I have to be flexible. West Ham went to a four to beat Wolves, and Arsenal went to the way we were against Liverpool. We need that flexibility. I agree, our performance levels have to improve. We have a chance to get the quarter-finals then Burnley on Saturday night. If we can get a result against Burnley then it’s seven points from the first four games is a healthy return.”
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