Bruce explains Willems blunder

Newcastle United

Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce has explained his tactical blunder following their home defeat to Arsenal in their opening game of the Premier League season.

New boy Jetro Willems, signed in the summer transfer window from Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt on a year-long loan deal, was brought on in the second half of the home defeat to the Gunners because of an injury to Jonjo Shelvey.

The left-back then went and played in Shelvey’s central midfield position before eventually being moved to left-wing back with Matt Ritchie taking over in the midfield.

Bruce explained afterwards it was just a lack of communication with the Dutch international who has 22 caps to his name.

Bruce said: “He only played there for two minutes, really, until we got the information down about where we wanted him to play, that was quickly sorted out, not a problem.”

The fact there was the mix up in communication will not go down well with Newcastle fans, some of whom are not totally behind the appointment of Bruce as manager in the first place, and Willems’s afternoon did not get a lot better.

Just four minutes after coming on his miss-placed pass found its way to Ainsley Maitland-Niles before he picked out an unmarked Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the box and the Gabonese international duly obliged by slotting home the only goal of the game.

Bruce said afterwards that the 25-year-old was too high up the pitch which made the pass more difficult than it should have been although he said it is something they can work on in the future.

Meanwhile, the boss’ spell in charge at St James’ Park does not look like getting any easier off the pitch in the near future either.

The group of Newcastle fans who boycotted the game as a protest to the continued ownership of Mike Ashley and the departure of former boss Rafa Benitez have promised to announce details of more protest in the near future.

Newcastle’s gate was down around 4,000 compared to the corresponding fixture last season.

On the field and Bruce will be desperately hoping for a positive result next time out in the Premier League as he takes his side to Norfork to face newly-promoted Norwich on Saturday at Carrow Road.

Norwich’s season started with a footballing lesson at Anfield last Friday night where they were blown away conceding four goals in the first half of the game before pulling one back before the end of the match.