With 22 Premier League games now under his belt as Newcastle United manager, Sky Sports have recently compared Steve Bruce’s record to that of Rafa Benitez’s over the same number. Indeed, Keith Downie wrote about how Bruce was in a much better position to tempt Mike Ashley into spending money this summer given his greater working relationship with the Sports Direct mogul but a drill-down in the stats had fans talking online.
— NUFC 360 (@NUFC360) January 16, 2020
The figures were relayed by @NUFC360, with Benitez boasting a better record in points (though only by 1), goals conceded, possession and expected goals, though the two managers have won the same number of games. Still, while Benitez may be a more popular figure on Tyneside – as Downie speaks about in his piece – it’s perhaps important to remember that he was working with a squad he had built for a season in the Championship for many of the games measured.
Bruce, meanwhile, has been working with a squad built for him (as Downie claims in his write-up), so a direct comparison does seem slightly unfair. So, with that in mind, here’s a look at how some sections of the support reacted on social media.
Forgot we are counting the last few when we got relegated but I don’t think that’s a fair comparison
— Cail Horner (@Theonlycail) January 16, 2020
Yeah seems cruel tbf, Rafa had 10 of those games… A whole season to get his team as he wanted it, then a further 12 games when promoted again. So with that in mind Bruce isn't doing badly at all.
— Chris Balmer (@balmer13791) January 16, 2020
Do you know what, give Bruce a little credit but the second half of this season cannot be a lucky as the first in terms of goals from the back. It’s been a little bit weird. We’d be smack bang in bother had it not been for them. That’s not tactics, that blind luck.
— TheFatYapper (@TheFatYapper) January 16, 2020
— Dicky (@Dicky0130) January 16, 2020
Well apart from the injuries bruce should be getting the applauds
— adam thompson (@histonadam85) January 16, 2020
Abit harsh on Bruce this. Rafa had significantly better players for first 8 or so games of this run (when we were in Prem before relegation). Likes of Sissoko/Gini/Cisse would significantly improve the current squad.
— Jordan (@JG29101) January 16, 2020
How good a job is Bruce doing? Join the discussion by commenting below…