This is a Newcastle United side that are not in the relegation zone and should really be in a cup semi final this season for the first time since I was 16, 15 years ago.  For a short time (thanks to a huge slice of fortune) the team were one nil up, the team were up to second in the table if things had finished the way they were at the start of the game.

All of this is irrelevant to me because I know it cannot last. It will not last.

I could ask you to consider, as I have, what the plan was last night.  How did Bruce set his side up and what was the blue print.  But I won’t because I cannot come to any other conclusion than there was no plan. There is no plan.

What we see in games against ‘better’ sides is chaos.  What we see instead of a plan is the result of a lack of planning.  We see the results of installing a manager who in 2011 was sacked by a Premier League side where almost all who watched them play agree that the game had moved on from this manager.  A manager who had good players but who did not know how to use them. A manager at Aston Villa with the most costly side in that divisions history who was sacked with accusations from people who watched that side a lot there the side has no identity and no idea of what it was supposed to be doing.

You may disagree but I believe performances this season against Blackburn Rovers, Brighton and Hove Albion, Tottenham Hotspur, Newport County and Manchester United have been shambolic.  Unprofessional in the approach or lack of it. Players on the pitch trying to just get through best they can.

There has been no plan in any of these games. I do not believe there has been any work before the game on how the game will go and any tactical instruction beyond picking certain players in certain positions.

Just like after Brighton this season I am asking questions that I don’t want to ask because, not because I don’t like the answers but because I don’t think there are any answers.

Manchester United came into this game with the league’s worst defensive record. Luke Shaw went to bed on Friday night worrying about facing up to Saint-Maximin, Ryan Fraser or Almiron. He lined up, against Joelinton.

I would like to know what playing Joelinton on the right of a four man midfield is supposed to look like. How does the manager think this will go?  Our opponents yesterday have looked dreadful against direct sides with fast players up front, playing them on the counter attack.  Yet we don’t counter attack and in fact conceded three goals on the counter and could have conded more.  How has that happened? Who is to blame?

That Joelinton is played in that position ahead of players like Ryan Fraser, Jacob Murphy, Miguel Almiron and even Christian Atsu defies logic.  If only any of those players had cost as much as Joelinton has and been as consistently dreadful – they might have a chance of getting a game.

Newcastle United didn’t lose another home game by three goals because of Joelinton.  However his inclusion in that position suggests to me that the manager does not know what he is doing. His comments post game about this fantasy war in his head on our ‘style’ taking ‘time’ suggest he does not know what he is doing.

He inherited a side with the eighth best defensive record in the league.  He now has a side where his goalkeeper keeps the score down on a regular basis.

I assume the plan is to be compact, difficult to break down and to offer a threat on the counter attack.  This cannot be the case as I have not seen it work this season or this year besides the Chelsea game 9 months ago. Manchester United could have scored eight last night. Yet this is ‘progress’ according to the manager and the regular humiliations are a price worth paying.

I have never seen a Newcastle United side as bad as this one in games against better teams.  The same tactics time after time produced borderline disastrous performances and we rely on huge fortune, individual heroics.

The plan cannot be to allow the opponent to have over 15 shots on goal in a game. You cannot win games like this except in exceptional circumstances.  Yet this is what happened last night, and will happen again and again under this manager.

Enough is enough, Bruce needs to go.

Alex Hurst

@tfalex1892