Newcastle United are the first team to lose to Sheffield United in the Premier League this season.

The Blades ran out 1-0 winners at Bramall Lane, with Billy Sharp scoring from the penalty spot in the second half after a Federico Fernandez handball in the area.

Sheffield United v Newcastle United - Premier League
(Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

The dust may have settled from last night, but tensions are extremely high following the awful performance from the Magpies.

Alarm bells rang when news of Steve Bruce’s starting XI filtered through, which showed a back five to face the worst team in the division.

Those fears ended up being completely justified, with Newcastle producing a truly insipid performance.


Ryan Fraser’s dismissal did not help matters, but the way the Magpies defended with 10 men did actually lead to praise from Sheffield United’s John Egan.

Real Betis v Sheffield United - Pre-Season Friendly
(Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

He said (BBC Sport, 20.08): “We played more like ourselves, positive, front foot. Newcastle are hard to break down, were solid even with ten men. We were due that bit of luck though.”

Egan comments highlight the issue

That Egan refers to Newcastle’s defending is an indication of the biggest problem.

It simply isn’t right that Newcastle are so passive and inviting, especially against bottom of the league.

Being ‘hard to break down’ is something Bruce prides himself on, but when that appears to be the mantra at all times, with no desire to have a real go at teams, then serious questions have to be asked of the manager.

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