Bruce: You get relegated playing the Norwich City way

Paul Okey
Steve Bruce Newcastle manager pointing
Steve Bruce Newcastle manager

Callum Wilson may have to wait for a return to the starting line-up as Alan Shearer’s calls for Newcastle to show more attacking intent go unheeded.

The Magpies are on a run of just two wins in their last 21 matches and sit just three points clear of Fulham in the final relegation spot.

However, a much-improved display in their 2-2 draw with Tottenham last weekend offered a blueprint for Premier League survival, according to Shearer.

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Looking ahead to Sunday’s key trip to Burnley he said“They will also need to repeat the attacking intent they showed on Sunday, because previously we have not seen anything like enough of that from them.

“There have been plenty of occasions where they have been too negative, where they have played sideways or backwards and have ended up being pushed back.

Right from the start against Spurs their attitude was different.”

Newcastle’s seven-match winless run has coincided with the absence of 10-goal top scorer Wilson.

The 29-year-old is available again this weekend after injury. But manager Steve Bruce is not guaranteed to throw him back into the starting XI as he looks to find a balance between potency and solidity.

Bruce was also dismissive of Shearer’s approach to beating the drop, as the former England striker is “not interested in defending”.

He said: “I’m just going to use an example here, Norwich now, who are romping away with their attacking intent in the Championship.

They started life in the Premier League and kept to those beliefs -‘that’s the way we’re going to play and that’s the way we’re going to go about it’ – and unfortunately you get relegated playing that way, so there’s a balance to everything, of course.

“I’ve said since I walked through the door I want to try to get at teams, I want to play a little bit on the front foot. It’s very difficult in the big league and who we’re playing against, so you have to get the balance right to get enough results to stay that way.

“Yes, I understand Alan’s quotes – and of course he’s a centre-forward, so he wants to attack, he’s not interested in defending.

“For me, it’s all about the balance, especially in the Premier League.”

Wilson bagged a brace in Newcastle’s 3-1 win over Burnley in October and Bruce’s opposite number Sean Dyche is mindful of the dangers posed by the England international.

However, should he be consigned to the bench, Dyche insists there are plenty of other threats to contend with.

“He gives them a bit of pace up there, he’s a good player without doubt. He’s had his injuries, which is unfortunate,” he said.

“Our players are well aware (of him). We’ve got a group who are certainly experienced in the Premier League. They play against some very good players across the pitch, it’s not just about one striker.

“We’ve got to make sure we look at the whole group, not just one player.”