Newcastle boss Steve Bruce has revealed that a tactical switch to a back four has transformed the performances of attacker Miguel Almiron.
Paraguay international Almiron has struggled for form this season, having scored only four goals in all competitions before last weekend’s draw with Burnley.
And while he did not score against the Clarets, he was impressive throughout and followed up that performance with a brace of goals as the Magpies progressed to the FA Cup quarter-finals with victory over West Brom on Tuesday.
Before the clash with Burnley, Bruce admitted that he was ready to take risks to add a goalscoring threat to his team.
Speaking in a press conference on Friday, the manager revealed that one such risk has very much paid off when asked about his side’s lack of prowess up front.
“I think it’s why we looked to change. Up to three or four games ago we had looked a threat but it waned,” Bruce said.
“They seem to be enjoying playing a little bit higher up the pitch which is good. Playing a back four gives us an extra body up the top end of the pitch.
“We had 20-odd attempts against Burnley and didn’t take one but we’ve had more chances. We’ve played Miggy in his best position for me which is probably off the front.
“It’s brought him back to life. He’s a manager’s dream. Every statistic he wins and he’s a delight to manage.
“He plays with a smile on his face and you want people like that to do well.”
Elsewhere on Friday, Newcastle confirmed that Matt Ritchie and Jonjo Shelvey have signed new contracts until the summer of 2023.
“I’m delighted,” Bruce said of the news. “They’ve been very, very good over the last few years for Newcastle and I’ve been lucky enough to inherit the two of them,” said Bruce.
“We all know what Ritchie’s like – there’s never a dull day. Jonjo is a very talented footballer. I’m delighted they’ve committed their future.”
Newcastle travel to Southampton on Saturday where they could move seven points clear of the relegation with victory.