Newcastle have got off to a dreadful start, which has seen pressure mount on new manager Steve Bruce, as critics are lining up to dissect the errors in his tactics, formations and substitutions.
In fairness to Bruce, even if Rafa Benitez had been in charge, points would have been at a premium, although fans would claim he would not have lost in the manner they did at Norwich on Saturday.
Sky Sports had some national journalists debating Steve Bruce and his decision to take over at Newcastle, and the comments do not make great reading for the local manager.
Sam Wallace, chief football writer for the Telegraph showed little sympathy for Bruce claiming he knew exactly what he was getting into at the club, and claimed “he was the unpopular choice of an unpopular owner”, who started “behind the eight ball”.
Daily Mail football editor, Ian Ladyman, laid out the difficult task ahead of Bruce when he said: “[Rafa] Benitez, in his own way, managed to essentially keep a Championship group of footballers in the Premier League for two seasons.”
He went on to warn: “I don’t think it’s mentality or personality that’s the issue, I just don’t think they’re good enough.”
The emotional pull of Newcastle played a part for Steve Bruce
Chief football writer at the Mirror, John Cross, said he felt sorry for Bruce somewhat, due to the emotional decision to manage his boyhood team.
But his further comments will send shivers down the spines of Toon fans, when he said: “But the club is basically treading water, which is not all Bruce’s fault.
“Until Mike Ashley decides one way or another to stay or go, the players can feel this complete paralysis around them over where the club is going.
“With that level of uncertainty, frankly some of the manager’s instructions are going to go straight through them.”
If the experts know what they are talking about, then it makes grim reading for fans going forward, and it just adds to the feeling of dread and discontent around Tyneside at the minute.
Bruce simply has to find a way to get some points on the board, and that must start with getting his formations and tactics right from the outset.
He was an underwhelming appointment, and fans did question his ability.
But if he genuinely wants to have a chance to win them over, then making the schoolboy errors he has made in the first two games must be cut out, and it will be hoped that performances and results will follow.