Steve Bruce press conference – Moves goalposts with what will count as success this season for Newcastle

    Steve Bruce has taken his pre-Bournemouth press conference.

    The NUFC Head Coach speaking ahead of Wednesday night’s game.

    Steve Bruce talking to journalists on Tuesday morning via Zoom, as Newcastle now turn their attention back to the Premier League.

    Steve Bruce confirming that he has no choice but to make changes with many of the same players having been selected for three games over a seven days stretch. Shame there was no rotation for Villa and Man City in the FA Cup made the priority…

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    Allan Saint-Maximin looking all but sure to be rested, whilst Matt Ritchie sounds very unlikely to make it.

    Both Florian Lejeune and Ciaran Clark to be still unavailable for this match as well.

    Interesting to hear Steve Bruce moving the goalposts on what will represent success this season.

    Gone are talk of cup success and a top half finish.

    Instead, Steve Bruce says that what ‘has got to be the aim’ is trying to beat 42 points because that is ‘the average over the last five years’…

    What kind of nonsense is this?

    Surely beating last season’s not exactly stellar 45 points when Rafa Benitez was starved of transfer backing should be the minimum target you are trying to beat, with £80m spent on a trio of attacking players in 2019.

    How desperate is it for Steve Bruce to go back (or be fed this line by one of Mike Ashley’s lackeys…) and include the 2014/15 and 2015/16 seasons, so that you can include points totals of 39 and 37 when NUFC only survived on the very final day (Jonas v West Ham) and then actual relegation!

    Why not go back further and include the 2011/12 season of 65 points and 2013/14 of 49 points?

    When you think Newcastle only need four points from seven games to beat this ‘success’ average of 42 points that Steve Bruce has came up with, it doesn’t exactly suggest great confidence in the next few weeks.

    Steve Bruce looking ahead to Bournemouth:

    “I think the average over the last five seasons [for Newcastle United] has been something like 42 points.

    “So we have given ourselves a wonderful opportunity to be better than what we’ve average over the last five years.

    “That has got to be the aim.

    “To take four points out of two league games we’re pleased about.

    On Sunday I make no excuses about the way we tried to go about the game plan but unfortunately we didn’t play when we had the ball.

    “We now have to focus on accumulating as many points as we can.

    “Work has gone on behind the scenes to hire a plane and book a hotel in Bournemouth that’s opened specially for us to try and make it as normal as we possibly can. We’ve managed to do that.

    “We’ve got no real excuses at all – everything is pretty similar.

    “I think it’s only right that I freshen us up.

    “I don’t want to go down to Bournemouth with them not having a game for a week and us playing four games in 11 days so I will be making some changes.

    “Hopefully that pays off.

    “The lockdown has done him [ASM] good with those niggling hamstrings he had which was always a concern when you rely on your pace like he does.

    “He was extremely tired yesterday.

    “Four games in 11 days, I’m going to use the squad so we’ll see how he is this afternoon.

    “Matt Ritchie is touch and go.

    “He’s desperate to play but he was nowhere near it on Friday so we’ll see how he is.

    “You can’t really take a risk with soft tissue injuries because if he’s not right he could risk being out for the rest of the season.”

    “It’s going to be touch and go for Florian Lejeune if he’ll play any part [in the season].

    “He’s picked up a nasty thigh injury against Hull which is a grade two.

    “I think he’s 17 days into what we thought might have been around four weeks out.”

    Steve Bruce speaking to BBC Newcastle:

    “Atsu wasn’t too well when we came back after the lockdown.

    “You can only pick 20 players.

    “He’s still got a part to play but, at the moment, he’s not quite making the squad.”

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