By Gabriel Agbonlahor

19th Jan, 2021 | 4:54pm

Newcastle Exclusive: Agbonlahor drops shock Guardiola-Bruce comparison

Pep Guardiola could not get any more out of the Newcastle United squad than Steve Bruce is currently doing.

That is the shock view of former Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor, speaking exclusively to Football Insider after Bruce switched from a 5-4-1 to a 4-4-2 against Arsenal on Monday evening.

This site revealed during the day that Bruce had opted to switch to a front two – handing Andy Carroll his first league start since September.

Despite a change in system, the Magpies suffered their fourth defeat in their last five Premier League games as the Gunners ran out 3-0 winners at the Emirates Stadium.

But Agbonlahor has insisted the blame does not lie with the manager.

He even suggested Guardiola, regarded as one of the foremost coaches of his generation as well as the “best manager in the world” by Jurgen Klopp, could not do more.

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He told Football Insider“With Steve Bruce, he needs his players to deliver.

“Pep Guardiola couldn’t get any more out of these Newcastle players because they’re not showing good performances.

“He played 4-4-2 against Arsenal, I didn’t see Joelinton turn up. He was like a ghost player, he didn’t do anything, he didn’t take anyone on, he didn’t involve anyone else in the game.

“Callum Wilson was quiet. Carroll was quiet. Miguel Almiron did a couple of things but was quiet.

“He’s playing the formation of an attacking team but he’s not putting in the performances for him.

“I do feel for Steve Bruce and if you asked himself he’d say ‘I’m doing my best with this group of players and some of them just aren’t performing.’”

Bruce told the Chronicle he was pleased with his side’s first-half performance but his players lacked the confidence to finish their opportunities.

He added: “The only way it comes back is with a couple of victories. We just have to keep working at it.

In other news, a top pundit has tipped Newcastle United to sign a defender on a loan-to-buy deal.