Sam Allardyce shielded Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce from blame after the 5-0 loss to Leicester City on Sunday.
The former Magpies boss highlighted how Jamaal Lascelles should have done better when trying to stop Ricardo Pereira opening the scoring, and that those sort of mistakes by players cannot be put on Bruce.
“The mistakes cannot be pointed out or given as the manager’s responsibility,” said Allardyce on talkSPORT (6:11am, Monday, September 30th).
“If he gets the system wrong, or puts players out of position, then maybe you have to question what the manager is doing and say where is this going?
“But to blame Steve Bruce just yet, it’s a long way off, he has only just arrived and I don’t think the problems just lie in the team’s performances as they did go down to ten-men to a tackle that would have been perfectly legal in our days.”
After opting to elaborate on why Isaac Hayden’s tackle wasn’t a red card, Allardyce then switched back his attention to Newcastle’s overall performance.
“But in the end, it’s how Newcastle capitulated when down to 10-men, yes very difficult, but they should have put up a better defensive performance,” added Allardyce.
“The 10-men should have just sat in there and seen the rest of game out, and unfortunately for Steve he’ll be sleeping restlessly watching that.”
Allardyce isn’t completely wrong to defend Bruce, but there is an issue with what he says. The Newcastle boss suggests all the blame for the 5-0 loss should be put on the players due to the mistakes some of them made, and that is fair. After all, it’s very telling that out of all of the Newcastle players that completed 90 minutes on Sunday, only one managed to achieve a pass completion rate higher than 80% (Source: WhoScored). With so many players misplacing their passes, it just suggests how sloppy and careless several members of Bruce’s side were, and you can’t exactly blame the Newcastle boss for that. However, Allardyce then claims the Magpies should have tried to play a more defensive style of football after going to 10-men, suggesting they didn’t, and surely that’s him critiquing Bruce’s tactics. If the Newcastle boss told his side to sit back and press harder in order to cover for being a man down, then surely they would have? As surely, Allardyce isn’t implying that Newcastle’s players aren’t listening to Bruce after all.