The Shields Gazette has relayed comments from Newcastle United captain Jamaal Lascelles and it doesn’t speak to a harmonious state of play behind the scenes.
Talking about the current squad after some big spending over the course of the last two post-season windows, the 26-year-old described it as ‘the strongest team’ he’s played in. Furthermore, when discussing the 4-1 loss to Manchester United on Saturday evening – a game in which the Magpies sat off after taking an early lead – he said they should have ‘gone for the draw and looked to counter attack them a bit.’
In isolation, that doesn’t sound good. If the captain is openly questioning the direction the team has taken, Steve Bruce might have a job on his hands to convince the players he’s the right man to lead them. Now, we must take Lascelles’ full quotes into consideration and he did praise the ‘instructions given’, but it’s fair to draw a sense of frustration from his comments about their in-game management.
While Allan Saint-Maximin did recently sign a new deal, there is an argument to suggest Newcastle are simply protecting their investment and raising value ahead of the footballing world potentially recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, only weeks before his contract extension, he did urge the club to match his own ambitions of playing in Europe.
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Should any frustration linger, it’s hard to see Newcastle achieving that. While there have been some expensive additions, many of this team have played for the Magpies since promotion from the Championship and many of the signings this summer are experienced Premier League operators, so they should have a feel on how to win games at this level.
If they aren’t getting a sense of that from the management, problems are likely to arise.