Newcastle head coach Steve Bruce has called for the time he needs to mould his team after receiving stinging criticism.
The Magpies snatched a fortunate Premier League point a Tottenham last weekend courtesy of a controversial late penalty decision, and then edged past League Two Newport into the Carabao Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday evening.
However, pointing to the time it took Jurgen Klopp to get Liverpool playing the way he wanted them to, Bruce said: “We all need time. It took a great manager like Jurgen a few years to get what you need.
“Every manager needs time, of course, because nowadays, you can’t just change it overnight. With transfer windows and especially now with what’s gone on in the world, it’s very, very difficult.
“Look, it’s still a work in progress – I know that sounds easy for me to say, but that’s what it is – and we are in the middle of change because I’m trying to change us from a team that plays with a back five and sitting deep into a more-forward thinking back four and playing from there.”
Bruce’s comments came after his side, who face Burnley in the league on Saturday night, had been paired with Sky Bet Championship Brentford in the last eight of the League Cup, a draw which he believes is tough but could have been worse.
He said: “It’s given us a wonderful opportunity, that’s for sure, against a very, very good Brentford side. It won’t be easy, that’s for sure – none of them are.
“We’ve got to be pleased with the draw when you see the big names in there who we’ve avoided, but make no mistake, Brentford are a very good side.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for us. Make no mistake, it will be a difficult game, but it’s a great chance.”
Bruce points to Achilles heel
Meanwhile, Bruce bemoaned one particular aspect of his side’s play, labelling it as their “Achilles heel” after the win over Newport.
The Magpies were on the verge of a humiliating EFL Cup exit to Newport for the vast majority of their encounter.
A magnificent solo goal from Jonjo Shelvey levelled the scores late on, however, with Newcastle ultimately progressing to the quarter finals on sudden death penalties.
Bruce was full of praise for their plucky opponents, but admitted his side’s inability to turn chances into goals was once again a concern.
“I have to credit Newport, you can understand now how they’ve beaten Watford and Swansea this year and in the past Middlesbrough and Leeds and they took City all the way,” he told Sky Sports.
“They beat Leicester as well, you can understand why.
“They’re a decent football side, congratulations to the manager and players; they threw everything at it, particularly in the last 10 to 15 mins.
“It looked like we wouldn’t get the breakthrough for a long time and we understand that’s our Achilles heel.