It’s emerged that a “clear the air” meeting was held between Steve Bruce and his players before Friday’s 0-2 win at Crystal Palace, which sets an intriguing conundrum when you hear the details.
This comes via The Telegraph’s far from popular Luke Edwards, who reports that Bruce met with senior players last week to ask what they felt was going wrong, what needed to change and he gave his view too.
It would seem as a result of this meeting we went back to a four-man defence, two strikers and were rewarded with three big points.
Yes, there’s still lots to improve on and one swallow doesn’t make a summer but it was far more encouraging to see us show signs of what we should be doing to sides like Palace. That’s not meant to be arrogant but factual.
With resources at our command as compared with Palace we should beat teams like them and it’s absolutely essential with the games coming up that we do beat teams in and around us and definitely below us. Bruce needs this more consistency if he’s to avoid calls for his head.
But to answer the question in the title I, like many others have got mixed thoughts on this. It could be argued that it’s good management in the fact he’s listening to his players. Which in turn means he could avoid losing the dressing room, which it has been rumoured he’s already done.
Also, does it mean he’s recognised and is addressing the issues and not merely ignoring them as he seems to have done in the past in an often-stubborn appearing way?
Or was he getting desperate and had run out of ideas or thoughts and felt he had to go to his players for advice? Having to ask his team what is going wrong may also be seen as a weak move and proof he doesn’t really know what he’s doing. A view shared by many hardcore fans.
Either way, we bounced back on Friday night and looked much better with a four-man defence and Joelinton playing just off Wilson. You could argue that it’s a one-off and tactics that worked this time as well. But one thing’s certain he and the team need to kick on from this.
The Chronicle also reported on the meeting and added their own thoughts that Bruce has the backing of Mike Ashley.
That backing will continue regardless of style of play, tactics, and formations. Ashley and his cohorts merely deal in results and have no interest in how Bruce and his players get them. The Manager’s remit is simple. Keep NUFC in the Premier League at as low a cost as possible.
Whilst Bruce is doing that then he’s safe no matter what the paying fans who want “hope” and entertainment think. So, was the meeting Good Management or Desperate Measures? I’m really not sure but I am sure of one thing.
Three points, a clean sheet and a MotM performance from Joelinton made it a far nicer weekend than usual.