Steve Bruce’s life as Newcastle United manager got off to a disappointing start last weekend. The Magpies were beaten 1-0 by Arsenal at St James’ Park. However, despite the defeat, there were plenty of positives for the home side to take from the match.
Club-record £40 million summer signing Joelinton made his debut and showed flashes of quality. On top of that, Newcastle managed to restrict the amount of chances that Arsenal could create. Isaac Hayden also featured against his former club and produced a solid performance.
The midfielder has recently spoken out about the impact Bruce has had since his arrival on Tyneside. As quoted by The Chronicle, Hayden said, “under previous managers we have been a lot more defensive and solid but still ended up losing games. But against Arsenal we took the game to them and took a few more gambles”. Newcastle certainly looked like a different side under Bruce. Hayden continued, “I think the players have taken to him really well. They have understood the direction he wants to go in”.
Bruce replaced Rafa Benitez this summer after the Spanish coach left the club prior to the start of the new campaign. Of his former boss, Hayden said, “everyone has respect for him but at the end of the day he chose to move on. We now have a new manager. As individuals we have to focus on the new era”.
Hayden, Bruce and the Newcastle fans will be hoping that the first win of the new era comes against Norwich City on Saturday.
Bruce has big boots to fill having taken over from Benitez. The odds are certainly against him, and his previous Premier League record suggests he isn’t up to the task. However, encouraging a new, attacking brand of football at St James’ Park will certainly endear him to the fans. What’s more, it will also get the players to buy into his vision.
Hayden’s words suggest that the squad believe in Bruce. If they can build on their Arsenal performance and gain some confidence, they may well be set to enjoy a surprisingly good season.