Unimaginative, sloppy and bereft of ideas when the chips are down. Those are the three phrases that sum up Steve Bruce’s Newcastle United following our 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace.
Despite storming into an early lead and playing some great stuff in the first 45, Steve Bruce’s side ultimately folded into despair as we slumped to our ninth defeat in eleven matches.
Palace were poor and we had, for once, the possession and chances to put them away early on, only to run out of steam, defend poorly and see Steve Bruce make a host of desperate late changes, with him declaring after the game that he “couldn’t be more pleased” with how we played aside from that two goals conceded against a lacklustre Eagles side who never win when conceding first.
Here is what our under-fire gaffer said to BT after the game:
“I was pleased with the performance.
“We had an awful 10-15 minutes where we conceded two goals with a mistake and a set piece but apart from that I couldn’t be more pleased with how we went about our work.
“We’ve tried to change in the last month or so. The performance is what you’re looking for and you hope performances like Saturday can turn into victories. Unfortunately tonight it didn’t come.
“We had the chances but I just felt as if we dropped that little bit deep again. That cost us but they were big opportunities and chances. I think we had about 20 chances on goal but we’ve had 2, 3, 4, 5 in the first half we should have been a bit more clinical.
“For me it’s been all about the performance in the last month or so. How can we go about the change in the performance in the team?
“We didn’t deserve to lose (to Leeds) and I don’t think we deserved to lose tonight.
“I think they’re enjoying what we’re trying to put in front of them. Of course with that you need results along the way.
“Tomorrow they’ll be disappointed but another game at the weekend and we’ll get ourselves ready.”
There were definitely some positives, with our play before Palace’s two goals brilliant at times, but ultimately we’ve been undone by a series of sloppy errors at the back and failed to response to that setback in what was a painful second half.
The ultimately grim ending to a very promising start makes Bruce’s comments that bit more frustrating – he needs to push for more than this and do better in his attempt to overcome adversity, with us having no answer when Palace took the lead and sat back.
This result has partially undone all the hard work we managed to put in at the weekend against Everton, giving us a real feeling of one step forward and two back.
We seemed brimming with confidence after taking an early lead but lapses in concentration at the back, missed chances, a lack of drive in the second half and desperate subs from Steve Bruce have cost us. It’s as if he thinks throwing on every attacker we own will = a goal!
Yes, to an extent, we did kick on from the weekend’s game and continued to look better going forward – but this is a results business and we should’ve got one here.
Another Premier League defeat puts us right back into the fire when we thought we’d escaped the heat of the pan just 72 hours ago.