Gary Neville has insisted that Steve Bruce should not be blamed for Newcastle United’s negative style of football this season.
Bruce has received a lot of criticism of late from Newcastle fans. The Magpies are without a win in eight games in all competitions.
Last time out they fell to a 1-0 defeat to 20th placed Sheffield United. This handed the Blades their first league victory of the season.
Bruce has been slated by fans throughout his reign for the style of football he adopts. But Neville believes that the manager should not be held responsible for this.
Speaking on Monday Night Football, as cited by The Mirror, Neville said Newcastle’s football has been “appalling” for ten-plus years:
“The unhappiness towards this manager is embedded from the history, rather than who he is or the job that he’s doing. If I was a Newcastle fan, I’d be unhappy now.
“I’d be unhappy under Rafa Benitez, I’d be unhappy under Steve McClaren and the previous three managers before that. It’s been appalling for the past 10/12 years.
“I think looking for differences between Benítez and Steve Bruce… I don’t see any difference because the key thing for me in football is points.
“Rafa Benitez had been at two Premier League clubs before he went to Newcastle and was regarded as one of the best in the world. He was on £6m when he was at Newcastle and got 44 and 45 points in his two seasons.
“Last season, Steve Bruce got 44 points. He’s matched him for points, and at this stage of the season over the last four seasons, Bruce has got more in each of his two seasons compared to those managed under Rafa.
“What Rafa had was great PR and he had a great rapport with the fans because he stuck with the club and got them out of the Championship.
“I thought the football was awful under Rafa, and this is something that is culturally set at Newcastle. It is not a Steve Bruce problem. Newcastle have got a cultural problem where football expectation up there is attacking football but they’ve been served up dire tripe for the past 10 years.
“The ownership and the executive at that club have not delivered the football they want for years and years. I get demoralised when I go up to Newcastle when I should be inspired.”