Jamie Redknapp has used his column in the Daily Mail to give credit to Newcastle manager Steve Bruce after the 2-2 draw with Manchester City on Saturday, but they sound hypocritical.
Yes, it was a fantastic point for the Magpies, and yes, Steve Bruce deserves some credit for it. Both are facts that most fans would largely agree with.
Redknapp wrote: “It is time to give Steve Bruce the credit he deserves. After 14 games, Newcastle have 16 points. At the same stage under Rafa Benitez last season, they had 12. Bruce’s side have not lost at St James’ Park since the opening day.”
He went on to add: “They had a go against one of the best teams in the world. Yes they only had 23.6 per cent possession but whenever they had the ball, they looked forwards. This was a performance of positivity.”
Both those things may be true, but for Redknapp to say as much, makes him a hypocrite, or at the very least, someone with a very short memory.
Here is a reminder of his comments in August 2018, when Newcastle narrowly lost at home to Chelsea under Rafa Benitez.
At that time, Redknapp said: “I don’t buy into those tactics. If you’re going to the Etihad, against the champions, by all means. But not at home, the possession stats are embarrassed.
“If you’re a Newcastle player in that dressing room, you’re embarrassed.”
He went on to add how difficult it was to watch, and how only Rafa could get away with it.
In that game, Newcastle managed just 19 per cent possession. Against Manchester City on Saturday? Just 5 per cent more. The tactics were almost identical, and just the personnel were different.
Redknapp’s contradictory comments are hypocritical
Newcastle could easily have scraped a draw in that Chelsea game – only an 87th minute own goal from DeAndre Yedlin prevented it – and yet, the reaction from Redknapp could not be more contrasting.
While I agree, Bruce deserves some praise for some of the results Newcastle have picked up, there is still a long way to go before anyone will be composing a song for him.
Yes, Newcastle are four points better off now than at the same point last season, but I am still concerned at the lack of ability to perform against sides that we are expected to beat.
Would a Rafa side have lost to both Norwich and Aston Villa away? Would his team have failed to beat Brighton or Watford at home? I think the answer to both questions would be no.
And that is the fundamental difference between the two managers, for me. Bruce gets his side to over-achieve against the big clubs, but Rafa was usually able to get results against those teams expected to be in and around us, while still taking points off bigger clubs on occasion.
So I will always give credit where it is due, and the past weekend is no exception. But I will not allow someone like Jamie Redknapp to laud Bruce this week, while pretending his previous comments never existed.
To use Redknapp’s own description of Rafa’s tactics to describe his latest comments – he should be embarrassed.