EPL

The gloves are off – Bruce blasts Newcastle players after 'absolutely s****' Sheffield United performance

By Sports Desk January 15, 2021

Steve Bruce unleashed a furious assessment of his Newcastle United players, branding their performance at Sheffield United "absolutely s***" and declaring "the gloves are off now".

The Magpies were beaten 1-0 at Bramall Lane on Tuesday to become the first team to lose to the Blades in the Premier League this season.

They were also the first side to fail to score against Sheffield United in the top flight since July as they lost to a team starting the day bottom of the table for the first time since October 2015.

Bruce has come in for increasing criticism from fans for his team's performances during an eight-game winless run in which they have exited the EFL Cup and FA Cup, as well as suffering four league losses.

The Newcastle head coach accepts he got things wrong against Sheffield United but claims some critics have always felt he was "never the right choice".

After their latest setback, Bruce has made it clear he will not tolerate anything but a commitment to his methods at St James' Park.

"I've let them be comfortable," he said of his players. "But, like I say, the gloves are off now and we will do it my way. We've played a certain way to try to get the results we need.

"We were absolutely fr****** hopeless the other night; we were absolutely s****. Unfortunately, that's happened a little too often in my 18 months here; it was nowhere near good enough for the challenge ahead. Maybe it's a mentality thing.

"If you're a Premier League manager you can't accept what happened at Sheffield United. We were completely and utterly hopeless and I have to accept what's coming my way. If I was a supporter I'd be concerned."

While the loss to Sheffield United was the nadir of their season, the signs have been worrying for Newcastle for some weeks.

Much of the criticism of Bruce has centred on a perceived negative style of play, with Newcastle having averaged the lowest possession (37.8 per cent) and completed the second-fewest passes (4,430) in the Premier League this season.

Only Burnley and West Brom have attempted fewer shots than Newcastle's 150, which have yielded 18 goals, the fifth-lowest total in the division. Only five teams have conceded more than their 27 goals and just three have kept fewer than their three clean sheets.

"I wouldn't expect to be reassured after the other night," Bruce said of his position. "I pick the team, I got it wrong and I have to take responsibility. I don't want reassurances. I understand it's nowhere near good enough so let's get ready for the challenge ahead.

"If you look at my record over the years, I've got enough on my CV to make sure I can slowly take the club forward. Some would argue against that. I accept that. In some people's eyes, I was never the right choice. I understand that."

Related items

  • Casillas: Real Madrid have to 'put the icing on the cake' with Champions League win Casillas: Real Madrid have to 'put the icing on the cake' with Champions League win

    Real Madrid legend Iker Casillas believes the club's run to Saturday's Champions League final will mean nothing if they eventually lose to Liverpool.

    With 725 matches played, Casillas trails only Raul Gonzalez for appearances made for Los Blancos, winning the Champions League three times with the club, including the famous La Decima in 2014.

    Madrid have made a dramatic run to Saturday's fun, coming from behind on aggregate in all three knockout ties to eliminate Paris Saint-German, Chelsea and Manchester City.

    Writing for the Player's Tribune, Casillas insisted it will matter little if Liverpool lift the trophy on Saturday instead.

    "The comebacks are very good but now we have to get it. We need the icing on the cake," Casillas wrote for the Players Tribune. "If you don't get that icing, the cake won't be complete, right?

    "If the cup does not reach the showcases, nobody is going to remember what happened with PSG, with Chelsea and with Manchester City. To be exciting, it has to be until the end, with the prize.

    "One step away from glory for the 14th time, people think that winning the Champions League is easy and it is not. If just reaching a Champions League semi-final is something incredible, when you get one, two or three cups you have to be proud."

    The 41-year-old singled out Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who has been a pivotal figure in both their LaLiga title and run to Saturday's final, with 21 clean sheets in 50 games across all competitions.

    While insisting Courtois is the best goalkeeper in the world, that Casillas' athletic and versatile style in goal was long regarded as an inspiration is something he also takes pride in.

    "A separate paragraph is for Courtois, and I think no one can argue that today he is the best goalkeeper in the world," he said. "It's the same thing I think of Karim [Benzema]. To rise even higher, you have to get that award. And he deserves it like nobody else, since he has been essential for Madrid to reach the final in Paris.

    "I am proud that, as I did with [Luis] Arconada, he has grown up inspired by my stops, by my videos. There will be another kid out there who will want to be like Courtois tomorrow. But, in short, I am flattered to have been a part of his life."

  • Berizzo confirmed as Chile national team boss Berizzo confirmed as Chile national team boss

    Eduardo Berizzo has been hired as the new head coach of the Chile national team, the Chilean Football Federation confirmed on Thursday.

    Berizzo’s first coaching experience came as an assistant under Marcelo Bielsa with La Roja between 2007 and 2010, and will now be tasked with rejuvenating a team in generational transition.

    Following a quarter-final finish at the 2021 Copa America, Chile finished five points off the inter-confederation playoff spot in CONMEBOL qualifying for this year’s World Cup, dismissing Reinaldo Rueda and Martin Lasarte in the process.

    Berizzo is coming into this role after a disappointing tenure of his own with the Paraguay national team, where two quarter-final eliminations on penalties at Copa America tournaments in 2019 and 2021 were punctuated by an eighth-placed finish in South American qualification for this year’s World Cup.

    "The Chilean Football Federation, headed by its president Pablo Milad, informs that it has reached a complete agreement with Eduardo Berizzo and his staff, so that he directs the Chilean National Team for the next process," the Chilean governing body said in a statement.

    "Berizzo has had an outstanding career as a player with the Argentine national team, and as a coach he showed important steps for Estudiantes de la Plata, O'Higgins de Rancagua, a team with which he was crowned champion of Chilean soccer, and also with Celta de Vigo, Seville and Athletic from Spain. His last experience was in the Paraguayan soccer team."

    La Roja will next face South Korea in the upcoming international window, before taking on Tunisia in the opening game of the Kirin Cup.

  • Mane promises 'best answer' on Liverpool future after Champions League final Mane promises 'best answer' on Liverpool future after Champions League final

    Sadio Mane will wait until after the Champions League final before revealing "the best answer you want to hear" on his Liverpool future.

    Mane has been a key man for Liverpool as they have challenged for silverware on four fronts this season, scoring 23 goals and assisting two across 50 games in all competitions.

    The 30-year-old winger is excelling again despite uncertainty surrounding his future at Anfield, where his contract is due to expire in 12 months' time.

    Team-mates Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino are in the same position, but Mane is determined talk of a departure will not distract from Saturday's huge match against Real Madrid.

    And he teased he will "give you all you want to hear" after the Paris showpiece.

    "I think the answer I can give you now is I feel very good," Mane said. "I am fully focused on Saturday's game, that is the answer I must give before the final.

    "But come back to me on Saturday and I will give you the best answer you want to hear, for sure. It's special. I will give you all you want to hear then.

    "I love what I am doing, and I sacrifice myself all the time. I am working hard every single day on the pitch and in the gym, and I get better and better, that's the most important. I am trying my best to help the team."

    Mane scored in the 2018 final between Liverpool and Madrid, with the Spanish giants running out 3-1 winners.

    The Santiago Bernabeu side could be among the suitors for Mane should he leave Liverpool, but his aim for now is to beat them.

    "Good question," he said when asked about the possibility of being approached by Madrid. "But what I want to say now is I am fully focused on the Champions League and winning it, which is far more important for me and the Liverpool fans.

    "I will do everything absolutely possible to win the game for Liverpool.

    "I think we all forgot about what happened in 2018. For sure, Real Madrid were the better team then and deserved to win the game, but it is going to be a different game."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.