EPL

Don't pay much attention to bull**** – Guardiola defends 'exceptional gentleman' Bruce after Newcastle departure

By Sports Desk October 22, 2021

Pep Guardiola came to the defence of 'exceptional gentleman' Steve Bruce following his recent departure from Newcastle United earlier this week.

A decision that looked on the cards following the completion of the club's Saudi Arabian-backed takeover, Bruce left the Magpies by mutual consent on Wednesday after a difficult start to the Premier League season.

Newcastle are yet to win in the league this season, having collected just three points from 24 on offer.

The 60-year-old subsequently suggested it could be his final managerial role due to the abuse he received during his two-year tenure.

"I think this might be my last job. It's not just about me, it's taken its toll on my whole family because they are all Geordies and I can't ignore that," Bruce told The Telegraph.

"By the time I got to Newcastle, I thought I could handle everything thrown at me but it has been very, very tough.

"To never really be wanted, to feel that people wanted me to fail, to read people constantly saying I would fail, that I was useless, a fat waste of space, a stupid, tactically inept cabbage head or whatever. And it was from day one."

Newcastle's Allan Saint-Maximin paid tribute to the 'gentle' and 'caring' Bruce, and Manchester City boss Guardiola believes that the winger's social media post epitomised the respect warranted by the ex-Manchester United defender, who took charge of his 1,000th game as a manager in Sunday's defeat by Tottenham.

Addressing the media ahead of City's trip to Brighton and Hove Albion, Guardiola said: "I read the post on Twitter and Instagram from Saint-Maximin.

"This is, for me, what Steve Bruce is – [he is] an exceptional gentleman. He always took care of me so nicely when I came here from Catalonia. I wish him all the best. 

"I'll tell him 'don't pay much attention to the comments because it is bull****.'

"Steve Bruce and all other managers want to do the best; sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. He does not have to worry. I'm pretty sure all the people in Newcastle – the board and especially the players – know exactly what Steve is."

It was a sentiment echoed by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who told a news conference: "Is it social media? Don't read it, don't watch it, especially not in average or bad periods. That's the best advice you can give to every manager in the world.

"I'm really sorry for Steve Bruce if that happened. I think the most important skill in modern football for a manager is to not let criticism get too close to you or just ignore it. That's what I do."

Rafael Benitez preceded Bruce at St James' Park, and was a popular figure with the club's fanbase. The current Everton boss has ruled himself out of contention to take over at Newcastle, however.

Asked if such harsh criticism could possibly lead potential managers to stay away from coaching, Benitez said: "Not for me at Newcastle or here at Everton. You have to accept that in football if you win, everything is fine, if you lose, you can lose your job.

"This is the situation for many years, in a lot of countries.

"My relationship with the Newcastle fans is fantastic, my relationship with the people in the city was very good so I have good memories. At the same time, I do not want to see any manager lose his job, that is the only thing I can say."

Related items

  • 'Everybody loves Fred, he's a sunshine' – Rangnick salutes United goal hero 'Everybody loves Fred, he's a sunshine' – Rangnick salutes United goal hero

    Ralf Rangnick hailed Fred as a ray of sunshine after a fine strike from Manchester United's much-maligned midfielder gave the interim boss a winning start.

    A 77th-minute strike from United's Brazil international clinched a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace as Rangnick took charge from the dugout for the first time.

    The former Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig boss watched from the stand when United beat Arsenal 3-2 on Thursday, and it was a first day in the frontline for the German on Sunday.

    Among a plethora of likely match-winners, Fred was way down the list, but it was his stylish strike, with his unfavoured right foot, that saw off Patrick Vieira's Eagles.

    Fred's deep-lying midfield role has been frequently cited by United observers as a weak point in their team, but on this occasion he was a hero. He has scored twice in 12 Premier League matches this season, as many as he managed in 76 appearances across his first three campaigns in the competition.

    Rangnick said: "I think everybody loves Fred. You have to love Fred. I've got to know him for only two days now but he's a sunshine."

    A United training session on Saturday had to be brief due to grotty Manchester weather, reducing Rangnick's already limited opportunity to work on the pitch with his new players.

    The 63-year-old still managed to piece together a tactical plan that just about paid off, with United pressing heavily at times and showing a subtle change in shape, Marcus Rashford, Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Bruno Fernandes given fresh instructions.

    Rangnick made the point in his Friday news conference that a priority would be to keep the opposition away from United's penalty area, and he felt his players came good on following that instruction.

    The outcome means United have lost just two of their 25 Premier League matches against Palace (W18 D5), keeping a clean sheet in their last two league games against the Eagles.

    In an interview on United's official website, Rangnick said: "Obviously it was about keeping them away from our goal, keeping them consistently under pressure and chasing balls and winning balls.

    "We decided to go for a slightly different formation but only slightly different. We played with two strikers, Marcus and Cristiano up front with Jadon and Bruno on the 10 position and for the rest of the team it was the same position as usual. I just thought it might be better to have control in the centre of the pitch with Cristiano having a partner up front and I think it worked out well."

    United nudged up to sixth place in the Premier League and have taken seven points from three games since being thrashed 4-1 at Watford, the result from which there was no coming back for former boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

    Rangnick added: "In quite a few games I saw on TV and also against Arsenal, we were a bit shaky in certain times of the game but today we had the feeling that we controlled the game."

  • Rangnick stunned by Fred winner and delivers a 'chapeau' to Ronaldo work-rate Rangnick stunned by Fred winner and delivers a 'chapeau' to Ronaldo work-rate

    Ralf Rangnick praised Cristiano Ronaldo's work-rate and admitted he was surprised by Fred's match-winning strike after Manchester United beat Crystal Palace in his first game in charge.

    United looked set to be held to a frustrating and goalless Premier League draw until Fred picked out the far corner of the net with a sweet right-footed strike after 77 minutes at Old Trafford on Sunday.

    The Red Devils had swarmed all over the Eagles in the first half with an intense high-press approach that interim manager Rangnick will demand during his tenure.

    They struggled to break down a well-drilled Palace though, until Fred came up with the only goal of the game, the 1-0 win moving United up to sixth – three points behind fourth-placed West Ham.

    Questions have been asked over whether Ronaldo would put in the sort of shift Rangnick will expect off the ball, but the German doffed his cap to the prolific forward as he delivered his verdict on United's performance.

    "I am very happy with the way the team performed, especially the first half-hour, with the pressing, it was exceptional. The only thing missing was the 1-0 or 2-0," Rangnick told the BBC's Match of the Day.

    "The way we defended, we had control of the whole game, the clean sheet was the most important part. These are the things we must improve. We need to keep clean sheets. With just the one training session, I was really impressed. We did much better than expected.

    "We always tried to be on the front foot. We were never not, apart from maybe the last five minutes. At all other times we were trying to keep them away from our goal.

    "We wanted to play with two strikers, especially in the central position. By the way, Cristiano Ronaldo's work off the ball, chapeau."

    Rangnick had to be patient for the first goal of his tenure and he raised eyebrows over Fred's decisive strike.

    "I had to ask my assistant coach if that was Fred's right foot. I thought he could only shoot with his left. I'm happy for him," Rangnick said.

    "It's always easier to build on things after you're successful. We must produce further clean sheets and get better at creating chances for our attack. Overall I was very pleased with the way we played today."

  • Lucas Moura: Tottenham building winning mentality under Conte Lucas Moura: Tottenham building winning mentality under Conte

    Lucas Moura senses Tottenham are building a formidable mentality under Antonio Conte after recording their third straight Premier League win.

    Spurs leapfrogged rivals Arsenal to move fifth in the table following a commanding 3-0 victory over bottom side Norwich City.

    Lucas got the ball rolling with his first league goal of the season courtesy of a thunderous 25-yard strike, while Davinson Sanchez and Son Heung-min sealed the points.

    Conte became only the third Tottenham boss to win each of his opening three home Premier League games in charge – after Harry Redknapp and Ryan Mason.

    Brazilian Lucas, whose goal was only his second from outside the box in the league since arriving in 2018 from Paris Saint-Germain, believes the club’s upturn in fortunes is testament to the Italian's influence.

    "I'm very happy that I finally managed to score my first goal in the Premier League this season," Lucas said. "What a goal, what a feeling!

    "It's very natural for me; I tried to dribble and when I found space, I decided I was going to shoot.

    "I think with Tottenham, it's in my top three [goals]. I don't score many goals like Son or Harry, but I've scored some nice goals. I'm happy to help the team."

    Speaking to Sky Sports News, Lucas said: "It was a solid performance. I think we are building a very good mentality and just need to keep going this way. Every day, we work very hard and try to put on the pitch what Antonio asks of us.

    "I think our style of play is very clear; we are very aggressive with a lot of intensity and I think we are doing very well."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.