In a rare Saturday 3pm home kick off, a much changed NUFC hosted Sean Dyche’s in form Burnley side for what was always going to be a boring game of football. Bruce finally changed the system and started with 4 at the back, moved Ritchie into a more advanced position and changed both central midfielders. Gay got the nod up front with Joelinton moving to the left and Maximin starting on the bench. Though I thought Joelinton did well, leaving our best player this season out of the most attack minded side we’ve fielded this season seemed like madness and his presence was definitely missed.

That said, Newcastle were better than we have been in previous weeks. With more possession, more completed passes and more corners, Newcastle probably had the better of the game. We had 21 shots (yep you read that right, twenty one!) and although only four were on target its difficult to argue that this isn’t an improvement.

We could and probably should have been ahead in the first half with Ritchie heading wide with a free header when meeting a great cross at the back post. Ritchie also struck the outside of the post with a well struck effort from just inside the box, in a half otherwise devoid of real chances for either side.

In typical Newcastle fashion we failed to capitalise on our chances and save an acrobatic effort from Gayle and a well truck long range effort from Ritchie, who looked delighted to be in a more advanced role, we didn’t threaten in the second half and the game fizzled out to the predicted 0-0 borefest.

What is really worrying here is that Bruce has made the changes that have been so obviously needed for so long and we still struggled to create many proper chances. We could have had a few goals but they would all have come from well taken half chances – there wasn’t a moment where the crowd were disappointed at a good chance spurned. The subs we’re terrible yet again – if Max is fit enough to come off the bench surely he could have played for longer than 10 minutes? Was he injured? Why on earth does he not start?

Another worry was the atmosphere. Non-existent for most of the game, the crowd only really came to life to scream “attack, attack, attack” and to sing Max’s name. Those are the kind of chants that immediately precede open discontent with the manager and I don’t think it’ll long before we hear anti-Bruce songs if things carry on as they are.

I don’t really want to offer any leeway at this stage of the season as the change in formation and personnel has been blindingly obvious for a long time but hopefully we will grow into this new system over the next couple of games and start creating and capitalising on some proper chances  through some genuine attacking football.

All that said, we have a massive game on Tuesday night and a decent win would repair some of the damage of recent (and not so recent) performances under this manager. Both manager and players will be pleased to have another game come round so quickly.