Graeme Souness slams ‘passive, non-aggressive, lacking-in-fire’ Newcastle and fears they might not win again this season after Brighton defeat – as Alan Shearer labels 3-0 loss which left them two points above drop zone ‘abysmal’
Graeme Souness has lambasted Newcastle’s performance as ‘passive’ and ‘lacking in fire’ after their woeful 3-0 defeat to Brighton on Saturday, as Alan Shearer branded his old club ‘abysmal’.
An appalling night for the Magpies saw them wilt in a crucial six-pointer against their relegation rivals, with Steve Bruce’s men devoid of any intent or cohesion.
Already under fire from Newcastle fans who want him out, Bruce’s players have not made things any easier with such a performance, according to Souness.
Graeme Souness has slammed Steve Bruce’s (centre) Newcastle team as ‘lacking in fire’
The Magpies were resoundingly beaten 3-0 by relegation rivals Brighton on Saturday night
‘You can’t win football matches, at this level, unless you’re full of fire: full of fire and a never-say-die attitude,’ Souness told Sky Sports.
‘Football matches are hard to win – Lady Luck can be against you, bad refereeing decisions. But I saw a passive, non-aggressive, lacking-in-fire performance from Newcastle tonight.
‘You have no chance in football management unless you have good senior pros and the influence they have over the dressing room. I would question who those good senior pros are in that dressing room, because I didn’t see any there tonight.’
Newcastle are now hovering just two points above the relegation zone. In defeat to Brighton, they managed a paltry three shots at goal over 90 minutes, with just one of those on target.
Souness said Newcastle ‘went down without a fight’ and might not win again this season
Souness questioned the attitude of senior Newcastle players and said it was ‘worrying’ for fans
Though missing two of their best attackers in Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin, Souness said the lack of intensity and appetite from the Magpies was most concerning.
‘Right now, every game’s a big game for them,’ he said.
‘They don’t have any easy games. You look at their remaining fixtures and there will be no easy games for them, the way they’re playing and the appetite they’re showing for the fight. It’s worrying for them.
‘Steve Bruce knows that and he was particularly down tonight. When you’re not winning games, you do feel quite miserable as a manager. But you can lose one way and you can lose by not having a go. He alluded to the fact that they went down without a fight tonight, for me.
‘I look at that group of players and I wouldn’t be confident about them winning another game, if that’s your attitude to a game that was winnable tonight, against a team that they’re fighting with in terms of relegation.’
Souness was far from the only critic of Newcastle’s performance.
Club legend Shearer could only find the word ‘abysmal’ and an angry-face swearing emoji to describe his feelings, while Mick Quinn said that Bruce should quit as manager if he ‘has any ounce of professional pride’.
Jeff Stelling said he now understood the sentiments of Newcastle fans, and Dan Walker simply asked: ‘Can anyone explain what Newcastle are trying to do?’
Souness accepted that Bruce is in a tough position with Mike Ashley’s ownership of Newcastle
Souness did express sympathy for Bruce given the endless saga over Newcastle owner Mike Ashley’s desire to sell the club. But he added that Ashley was unlikely to share that sympathy.
‘I hate talking about managers losing their jobs but with this owner (Mike Ashley) they have, with Steve McClaren, when they were in the bottom three, they changed him,’ he said.
‘For someone who is looking to sell the club, it is paramount that they stay in the Premier League. He won’t have any sympathy for any individuals right now. He’ll be looking at his asset – what it is worth in the Premier League and how attractive it is to buyers (as opposed to) the Championship.’