Steve Bruce has told his Newcastle players that “we’ve had it” if we turn up ‘complacent’ at Bramall Lane tonight.
Bruce – who managed Sheffield United earlier in his career – believes we’ll have to be ‘at our very best to get something’, insisting that we must match the hunger and energy shown by this buoyant Blades side to come away with a result.
Here’s what he’s had to say:
“I saw enough of them last season to know that they are a very good side.
“We have been seeing it now for two or three years, Chris Wilder has been very cute in what he’s done in transfers.
“Just at the right time they have a bit of energy.
“If we go there complacent – we’ve had it.
“We have to match them as they’re right up and at you.
“The crowd are right behind them and they’re still delighted they’re in the Premier League.
“They enjoy what they are seeing.
“It’s a proper game.
“If we are nowhere near our best we’ll come unstuck, it’s as simple as that.”
They’re excellent and the crowd are right behind, they (Sheffield United) come tearing at you and epitomise what the manager wants.
“I know over the last couple of years they have been impressive so it’s not a fluke.
“Somebody asked me in the summer about them but I said they’d be fine.
“They’re attitude and the hunger in their bellies.
“We will have to be at our very best to get something.”
That last line may not sit well with a few Newcastle United fans – they’re a newly promoted side after all – but it’s fair to say we’ll be beaten if we’re anything like were at Villa Park last Monday.
That’s the worry, though. It’s felt like we always need to be ‘at it’ to get a result.
Recently we have been on it more than off it, showing real character to beat Bournemouth, quality in the win over West Ham and organisation and grit to get a point off Man City, but we have to kick on now, with us entering a vital period against Sheffield Utd, Southampton, Burnley and Palace.
Here’s hoping we turn up tonight and come away with a result – not a repeat of that pitiful night at Aston Villa.