There was plenty of confusion when Steve Bruce replaced Jonjo Shelvey with Jetro Willems against Arsenal on Sunday, as reported by The Daily Mail.
The Dutchman, who recently joined Newcastle on loan, went on and started playing in centre-midfield, the area Shelvey had vacated – he was supposed to have gone to left-wing-back though, with Matt Ritchie heading infield.
Steve Bruce is said to have rather forcefully asked his backroom staff what was happening, before finally getting his message across and switching his players to the desired position.
Following the game, Bruce said: “It was just a lack of communication with him, he only played there for two minutes really until we got the information down about where we wanted him to play.”
Shortly after the issue was finally sorted, Willems was involved in some calamitous play which resulted in Arsenal’s solitary goal, as he allowed Ainsley Maitland-Niles to nip in ahead of him to get the ball, before the Arsenal man sent in a cross which Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored from.
This seemed to disrupt Newcastle’s play and things began to become disjointed (as claimed by the Daily Mail) for the Magpies.
Miguel Almiron was left looking around for answers (the Daily Express only gave him a 6/10 rating and claimed he ran down blind alleys) when he was dropped deeper to make room for Allan Saint-Maximin, who kept veering to the left despite being asked to play behind the striker – something Bruce kept reminding him about.
With Bruce being put under so much scrutiny following his arrival at St. James’ Park considering the fact a website called BruceOut.com was set-up shortly after his arrival, he surely will have been hoping for his first competitive game in charge to go smoothly.
Despite the result not being disastrous, it shouldn’t be overlooked how much calamity was on show from the team in black and white towards the latter stages of the match. Indeed, the Guardian also commented on how his side lost their shape, so it does appear to have been a problem.
If the manager wants to start getting his doubters onside then he must avoid moments like this happening again.
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