Steve Bruce has committed to playing the rest of the season with FOUR at the back ahead of the return of Premier League football this week.
Not only that, the Newcastle boss has vowed to never revert back to a five-man defence, hoping that the new system (4-2-3-1) will give fans “something to get excited about” moving forward.
The gaffer has been criticised for his defensive approach for much of the season, however he now seems intent on sticking with the formation that helped us create more chances, play better football and win both of our last two games against Southampton and West Brom before the coronavirus disrupted the campaign.
Here’s what he’s had to say when speaking about his plans for the remainder of the season:
“The football was difficult to watch at times.
“But in our last three games, we changed the system and created a lot more chances. And we’ll stick with that formation for the rest of the season.
“Perhaps we may have to tinker when facing the bigger teams but we won’t be returning to five at the back.
“It served a purpose but it was never the way I wanted us to play.
“Hopefully, we’ll give our supporters back home something to get excited about.”
Our first two games back see us face Sheffield United and Aston Villa at home, being fixtures where you would expect us to take Bruce for his word.
We’ll be looking to achieve a league double over the Blades after a 0-1 win at Bramall Lane earlier in the season and will be hoping to get one over a relegation-threatened Aston Villa too, but the FA Cup quarter-final clash with Man City will prove more to be a better judgement of Bruce’s supposed new philosophy next Sunday.
Personally, I would play five at the back against City – it worked well at the beginning of the season and may be the only option given we’re likely to get slaughtered if we go toe-to-toe with such a slick attacking outfit.
A four-at-the-back defence could be seen as suicidal against the current Premier League champions. However, Bruce has stuck his neck on the line, so it will be interesting – or God forbid worrying – to see how he ‘tinkers’ with his favoured system to cope with Man City next weekend.
That said, we’ve been crying out for more attacking and free flowing football all season, so let’s see what happens now he’s agreed to have a go!