After Tuesday night’s negative set up and appalling display at Sheffield United, I was intrigued to hear what a Blades fan made of it all as they secured their first win of the season to pile pressure on Steve Bruce.
I reached out to season-ticket holder Joe Glave (@glavey), who gave a brutal assessment of what he saw from his sofa in South Yorkshire!
Here’s what he had to say during our post-match chat on Steve Bruce tactics, calls for him to be sacked, the VAR decisions that went their way and the NUFC flops who failed to impress him on the night:
Q – It goes without saying that you fully deserved to win, but what did you make of our performance? To say the reaction from NUFC fans has been scathing towards Steve Bruce would be an understatement!
“When looking at the formation and team you went with before the game I still expected that you’d still create some clear cut chances like every team has done against us this season.
“Obviously that wasn’t the case and to be fair it goes to show how poor you guys were considering you were playing us…a team without a league win in six months!”
Q – Were you alarmed by how defensive we set up? We know Bruce is negative, but us NUFC fans couldn’t quite believe what they were seeing when the teams were released!
“Yeah, I was surprised at it being 5-4-1, I could maybe understand 4-5-1 but not 5 at the back! Let’s face it, we’ve been incredibly poor this season, from a defensive point of view we’ve struggled to defend set pieces, yet there was nothing to suggest Bruce had even considered this.
“Going forward we’ve been good in possession but haven’t broken teams down. If you were a team coming here to grind out a draw then you could say that the tactics were about right.
“I think it simply comes down to the fact that Bruce came to Bramall Lane tonight to try and get a point or nick a 0-1 and for a team like Newcastle it’s simply not acceptable.”
Q – The formation and tactics were abysmal, but so many players had stinkers. Who failed to impress you and why?
“I thought there were a lot of passengers in that game for you. Players just going through the motions and at times you didn’t realise were on the pitch to be honest.
“Hendrick, Fraser (of course due to the stupid red) and Dummett didn’t do anything.
“I think with Shelley and Saint-Maximin in the starting 11 would have seen you create more.“
Q – Tough one, but were there any players in our side who impressed you?
“I don’t think you can really criticise the three centre-backs really, they stopped us from scoring a goal from open play and kept their shape….although against better quality opposition it may have been a different story.
“I felt sorry for Wilson to be honest….great player but for me needs to assisted with a second striker to play off him.”
Q – Thoughts on the big refereeing decisions? Was it a penalty? Were Fraser’s two yellows fair? Should Sharp have seen red?
“For me, Fraser’s are both yellows. But sometimes you see refs bottle sending someone off, so I was a little bit surprised despite feeling it was the correct decision.
“In regards to the penalty, if that had happened pre-VAR I think it gets forgotten about pretty quickly, with VAR and pretty much anything awarded nowadays, i expected it to be a pen….whether that’s a good thing for the game is a different question!
“Sharp’s is absolutely a red card, I couldn’t quite believe it didn’t get checked by VAR, but that’s the inconsistency of VAR for you!”
Q – After witnessing how bad we were, do you believe we are serious contenders to go down if Steve Bruce isn’t sacked?
“I think based on this, you’re going to be in the relegation dog fight if I’m honest.
“Do I think you’ll go down (even with Bruce)? No I don’t. However I think to stop the rot it’s a decision that probably needs to be made.
“Forget the upcoming transfer windows, if your manager is setting up your team against teams in that bottom 6/7 like that, I think his approach is well and truly delusional!”
A frank and fair assessment from Joe, with most Mags probably feeling like he’s hit the nail on the head in that last line.
If your manager is setting up not to get beat against a bottom of the league side who hadn’t won a PL game in six months, you’ve got BIG problems.