The Brazilian has scored just once since making a £40m summer move from Hoffenheim and endured his worst performance for the club last weekend, seeing fans chant ‘you’re not fit to wear the shirt’ after a disastrous display at Rochdale.
Bruce admits he must ‘step up’ and ‘keep working’, but insists he works ‘extremely hard’ in training, is eager to ‘learn and improve’ and is simply struggling with a major lack of confidence.
Here’s what he’s had to say about the 23-year-old today:
“The key is confidence, and as far as we can, to keep him in good spirits. This is my job, and for my staff. When we see him training we know there is a good player there. We have seen glimpses.
“However they are judged by scoring goals. A striker needs to kick on. He has not missed a training session or a game for me. I hope against Wolves he will really step up and get stuck in.
“He’s a young lad and the number nine shirt wears heavy. The great thing is he works every day and wants to learn and improve.
“When you’re up against it, all you can do is roll up your sleeves and keep working. We were saying the same about Almiron and all of a sudden, he’s got two goals in two weeks.
“I see him every day and he works extremely hard. In training and in games his stats are very good. He’s got that classic thing of being a striker who needs a goal.”
Bruce is right – one thing Joelinton MUST do at Wolves tomorrow is ‘get stuck in’.
It’s the least you expect from any professional football earning a fortune and something he’s got to start doing every week if he’s to win over Newcastle fans without scoring regularly.
He missed chances and struggled to hold up the ball at Rochdale, but the abuse form the travelling Toon Army probably came from his poor body language and lack of desire – not only to win the ball back after he lost it but to get on the end of dangerous balls across the box.
A much needed goal is what he really needs, but more fight and doing basics right tomorrow would be a good start towards him getting back on track. Let’s hope he delivers at least that.