Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher on Newcastle's cultural problem under Steve Bruce

Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher discuss at length on Monday Night Football the sustained period of disgruntlement on Tyneside with Newcastle seven points outside of the relegation zone following defeat at Arsenal; 'Biggest issue is the ownership'

Newcastle have one goal in open play in nearly 13 hours of football under Bruce
Image: Newcastle have one goal in open play in nearly 13 hours of football under Steve Bruce

Steve Bruce has had enough of the kowtowing to his players.

"I've let them be comfortable," the Newcastle boss said last week following the abject 1-0 defeat at Sheffield United. "The gloves are off now, and we will do it my way."

But following another Premier League defeat on Monday Night Football, the pressure is mounting.

Bruce insists he is "100 per cent" confident he is the right man to turn around the club's fortunes but a Newcastle supporter group was calling for his removal as manager immediately after the latest setback. The 1,000-member strong 'Toon for Change' have stated they are now "actively campaigning" for the 60-year-old to be sacked.

preview image 2:49
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Arsenal's win against Newcastle

The under-fire Magpies boss will have the chance to address the myriad problems in the coming weeks, starting against Aston Villa on Saturday, live on Sky Sports, but the club's current plight was discussed at length by Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville both before and after the 3-0 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates...

'Fans served up dire tripe for a decade'

Nine games without a win, there is currently no hiding place for Newcastle 6:00
Gary Neville says Newcastle's problems over the past decade are down to the owners and not recent managers

Jamie Carragher: "There has got to be a big change. Steve Bruce mentioned how poor the performance was against Sheffield United, and it's all on. The results went against them at the weekend, when you think about West Brom getting back into the picture and Brighton winning.

"Against Sheffield United, it was one of the worst performances I have seen all season - you have got to factor in who they were up against, a team who had not won in the Premier League this season.

Also See:

"With the supporters, they get a lot of criticism in terms of what they should expect. Most supporters just want a bit of hope, but Newcastle fans don't like the owner, don't like the manager and they don't like the team.

Jamaal Lascelles shows his frustration during Newcastle's 3-0 loss
Image: Jamaal Lascelles shows his frustration during Newcastle's 3-0 loss

"There's nothing they can buy into at the moment. It was like the players did not understand at Bramall Lane they were in a relegation fight. They got battered by a team that had not won a game all season. When they are building from the back I struggle to see what they are trying to do... who really wants the ball?

"I do not see the progress. They are a poor team. A club like Newcastle with a team like that will always be a case of being 'in progress'. I was a little worried after the game against Sheffield United when Bruce said 'it's my way now'. I think he probably regrets he didn't do that 18 months earlier."

Pressure is mounting on Steve Bruce with Newcastle winless in nine
Image: Pressure is mounting on Bruce with Newcastle winless in nine

Gary Neville: "I get demoralised when I go up to Newcastle when I should be inspired. Newcastle have got a cultural problem where football expectation up there is attacking, enthralling, thrilling football for the fans who are passionate about the club but they have been served up dire tripe for the past 10 years.

"You go up to the North East and for the best part of the last decade, and that part of the world has been decimated in terms of Premier League football. The investment is not going into those football clubs.

"It's come to the North West clubs and the London clubs. We need somehow for the ownership to change in the North East clubs so that they can start to get the football and players they deserve. They have got massive fan bases and they have got great clubs and grounds."

Were things much better under Rafa?

Newcastle finished 10th under Rafa Benitez during the 2017/18 season
Image: Newcastle finished 10th under Rafa Benitez during the 2017/18 season

Carragher: "We have been critical about Rafa Benitez's approach when he was Newcastle manager in games against Liverpool and Manchester City when they had less than 30 per cent possession. We were saying, 'can't they attack more? This is Newcastle, can't they be more adventurous?' We were critical.

"If you compare the two seasons of Rafa Benitez and Steve Bruce, goals and xG were better with Benitez. Shots is a big difference as well. This is a team that we criticised for having a lack of adventure being better than the team we are seeing right now.

"Shots on target and every metric from an attacking perspective is a bit better then under Rafa than it is now.

"It's understandable that a team like Newcastle would be low on possession but to have under 50 per cent possession in 48 of 56 games since the start of last season is a lot. The even bigger concern is that 13 of those games were under 30 per cent. That's too many for Newcastle and it's not good enough for the fans.

"When you see these numbers, this is what fans are complaining about. We know they are not great attacking, but we are seeing they are not much better defensively even though they are attacking less. It's a big problem for them and I feel they are no doubt in a relegation battle.

"They have a better centre forward now than Rafa ever had. I think Callum Wilson is a huge upgrade on Salomon Rondon and Dwight Gayle. These are worrying stats for Newcastle fans and hence why there's a lot of frustration there.

"The biggest issue is the ownership. When I look at Burnley and West Brom, they play to get 38 points each season and I do not think their supporters are massively unhappy because they are delighted to be in the Premier League. Sean Dyche has done an amazing job at Burnley, Sam Allardyce would do amazingly well to keep West Brom up.

2:56
Newcastle boss Steve Bruce admits his side are enduring a difficult period and his players are lacking confidence

"I love the fact there are different styles in the Premier League, but Newcastle cannot be happy to just stay in the division. They must be a presence.

"I look at Newcastle how I would look at a West Ham, and the way I look at Everton, where they should be challenging for Europe and the top eight. They may never win anything but what those clubs should have is hope.

"Right now, Everton have hope because of Carlo Ancelotti. What Rafa gave Newcastle supporters was hope. If there had been a takeover, they had a Champions League-winning manager who could take them forward. Newcastle fans will not be expecting to challenge for the top four with Steve Bruce, Steve McClaren or Rafa Benitez. They just want hope."

Neville: "The unhappiness towards this manager is embedded from the history, rather than who he is or the job that he's doing. If I was a Newcastle fan, I'd be unhappy now. I'd be unhappy under Rafa Benitez, I'd be unhappy under Steve McClaren and the previous three managers before that. It's been appalling for the past 10 or 12 years.

"I think looking for differences between Benítez and Steve Bruce... I don't see any difference because the key thing for me in football is points. Benitez is regarded as one of the best managers in the world over the last 10-15 years. He was on £6m when he was at Newcastle and got 44 and 45 points in his two seasons.

"Last season, Bruce got 44 points. He's matched him for points, and at this stage of the season over the last four seasons, Bruce has got more in each of his two seasons compared to those managed under Rafa. For all those nice stats that Jamie has shown us, Bruce has a better record.

"What Rafa has is a fantastic PR company and he had a great rapport with the fans because he stuck with the club and got them out of the Championship. He demonstrated loyalty.

"I thought the football was awful under Rafa, and this is something that is culturally set at Newcastle United. It is not a Steve Bruce problem. I've not spoken to Steve in 12 years even though I played with him. This is not a Bruce defence piece.

"It's got nothing to do with the past four years. The ownership and the chief executive at that club have not delivered the football they want for years and years. It's got nothing to do with Bruce or Benitez."

So will Newcastle stay up?

Jonjo Shelvey played under both Bruce and Rafa Benitez at Newcastle
Image: Jonjo Shelvey played under both Bruce and Rafa Benitez at Newcastle

Neville: "I felt Newcastle were going to get beat [against Arsenal], irrespective of the eight changes. I would expect Newcastle to get beat at Arsenal most seasons, and they have not raised my expectations to a level where I feel they can go and win there.

"Bruce should not be judged on just tonight. Newcastle are 15th in the league, which is where I would expect them to be. Newcastle fans will not enjoy me saying that but at the start of last season they were expected to go down and they didn't.

Newcastle head coach Steve Bruce during the English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and Newcastle United at Emirates Stadium in London, England, Monday, Jan.18, 2021. (Adam Davy/Pool via AP) 3:03
Steve Bruce finds himself managing a 'difficult situation' at Newcastle and is lacking a consistent style of play, says Nigel Reo-Coker

"This season, you would expect them to be somewhere between 11th and 15th. That's where they are but it's just disappointing. Failure and misery seems to be embedded there over a long period of time, and it's unlikely to change irrespective of the manager that's brought in.

"It's obvious they need new ownership. The owner is willing to sell and one takeover bid did not go through. That's the only thing that's going to dramatically change that club. It needs to happen as quickly as possible."

Carragher: "They are a poor team and Bruce has got poor players. He went into this game and was on the front foot. You can see that in the goals as Newcastle got done on the counter-attack. They did not have much possession. There are ways to lose.

Thomas Partey, left, Arsenal's Rob Holding, right, and Newcastle's Callum Wilson
Image: Callum Wilson provides Newcastle with a better focal point than under Benitez

"That's a better way to lose than what I saw against Sheffield United. They looked a little bit more aggressive to get out to the ball and they played a little higher. The biggest thing with a manager whether you are at the top or the bottom is a balance between attack and defence.

"Tonight, they were more offensive but they still never looked like scoring. But there's such poor quality all over the pitch and I don't think it's something that's going to be addressed in January in terms of bringing players in. We should not forget, they made two or three signings in the summer that excited fans. At the moment, they have just got their heads above water."

What's next for Newcastle?

Live Premier League

Aston Villa vs Newcastle will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Premier League and Main Event from 7.30pm on Saturday; kick-off at 8pm.

Sky Sports customers can watch in-game clips in the live match blog on the Sky Sports website and app. Free highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.

Back to back Super 6 winners?

Back to back Super 6 winners?

One lucky winner won £250,000 for free on Saturday. Could you be next? Play for free, entries by 6:00pm Tuesday

Around Sky