Steve Bruce is confident his misfiring £81million Newcastle strike-force will get it right despite scoring just one goal between them in 57 hours of football for the club.
The Magpies head into Saturday’s clash with reigning champions Manchester City having managed just 11 goals in their 13 Premier League games to date this season and with £40million summer signing Joelinton’s winner at Tottenham in August the only one to have come from a frontman.
However, having seen what he, Allan Saint-Maximin, a £20 million summer capture from Nice, and in particular £21million January acquisition Miguel Almiron, who is yet to find the back of the net in 23 appearances for the club, do in training, the head coach is convinced they can add goals to their overall contributions.
Bruce said: “They don’t miss here. It’s like practising penalties – a pro will score nine out of 10 out there. A different pro might score three out of 10. You can’t replicate it.
“Almiron, we thought, ‘Great, he’s got the winner for Paraguay, it will give him that little bit of confidence which a good striker needs’, but unfortunately, it hasn’t happened for him.
“But I believe Almiron – and I wasn’t here – lit up Newcastle in January. From the moment he burst through against Huddersfield and dinked the goalkeeper and it hit the post… There are so many times where it’s hit the post, hit the bar or the goalkeeper’s made a great save.
“The frustration is there for all of us, but, for me, it’s all about the team. What I’ve got at my disposal, I’ve been quite happy with the performances of Almiron in particular.
“He’s got the best physical data. He works so hard for the team, it’s incredible, which for me, is what it’s all about.”
Bruce has vowed to stick with 23-year-old Joelinton, Almiron, 25, and Saint-Maximin, who is 22, and pointed to their ages and lack of experience in English football’s top flight in a plea for patience.
He said: “The big thing for me is they’re all young, they’re still learning their trade to a degree. If I said to you they’re the same age as [Sean] Longstaff, who’s played 12 times, then it puts it into perspective a little bit.
“They can only get better, they can only learn.”