According to the Telegraph, Steve Bruce questioned his player’s “desire and ability to play for the club” in an explosive rant following yesterday’s 5-0 defeat at Leicester.
Luke Edwards’ ‘exclusive’ also states that Bruce feels some players are trying to ‘hide behind him’, because they know he will take all the criticism for our bad results after replacing Rafa Benitez.
That seems a little strong and ironic given Bruce himself is not doing his job anywhere near good enough, however it does go without saying that the performance from several individuals was unacceptable yesterday.
Here’s a snippet from Edwards’ harrowing piece in the Telegraph today:
‘Newcastle United’s players remained completely silent during a brutal appraisal of their dismal performance at Leicester City by manager Steve Bruce as he questioned both their desire and ability to play for the club.
‘Bruce has been affable, approachable and supportive during his short reign at Newcastle, but his patience has snapped after the surrender on Sunday that led to a humiliating 5-0 defeat.
‘In a fiery, expletive-ridden outburst minutes after the final whistle, Bruce questioned the attitude of his players and accused some of them of trying to hide behind him, since he was appointed as Rafa Benitez’s replacement, because they know he will take all the flak for bad results.
‘According to one witness inside the dressing room at the King Power Stadium, Bruce’s emotion and fury left the entire team hanging their heads in shame and, tellingly, there with not a murmur of discontent, during or after his rant. “They just stared at the floor,” the source told Telegraph Sport.
‘Although results and performances have been poor, Bruce remains popular and there is feeling among the players that they have let him down more than anything. However, that is meaningless if there is not a positive reaction on the pitch against Manchester United next weekend and few supporters are in the mood to listen to excuses.
Bruce also told his players on Sunday evening that they would not be in training on Monday as he did not want to see them again so soon after the debacle at Leicester. It is understood the former Manchester United captain told his staff that he could not promise he would not explode a second time if he saw them on Monday morning and needs time to reflect on how bad things have become so quickly.
Instead, he will wait to see what sort of reaction he gets from the players after the dust has settled on Tuesday. A player meeting, without the manager, is planned for later this week, which will be led by captain Jamaal Lascelles, who was equally forthright in criticism of his teammates in the dressing room.
The reaction in Sunday’s game against Man Utd will be telling.
If the players can’t get themselves up for that game at St James’ Park then I’d argue Steve Bruce is already well on his way to losing the dressing room.
The players have to take some responsibility for yesterday’s abysmal display and embarrassing defeat, but a ‘expletive-ridden outburst’ from Steve Bruce isn’t what we need right now – it’s a manager who can give us some direction, some actual tactics and a plan in all areas of the pitch.
Bruce’s rant may be justified, but he too needs to pull his socks up and up his game.