IT was a pre-season promise that was an attempt to predict a more exciting brand of football under Steve Bruce when managing director Lee Charnley promised Newcastle United were about to start playing on the “front foot”.

But what has become abundantly clear after Bruce’s first two months in charge of the Magpies, is why Rafa Benitez felt the need to send his team out so regularly to play so negatively.

In truth, how could anyone have doubted him? He always felt his squad wasn't strong enough.

The former Champions League winner, one of the most highly-rated managers in the world over the last two decades, knew how to deliver results and he did so; more often than not to keep Newcastle in the Premier League twice.

It is pointless to keep harking back to Benitez’s time, Newcastle need to look to the future at some point, but Bruce’s performance is always going to be compared to his predecessor given how much he was liked on Tyneside and how much money was spent in the summer in a bid to ‘improve’ the squad.

But the pledge to deliver the more attack-minded football is backfiring, and in style. With the problems mounting ahead of back-to-back dates with Manchester United and Chelsea either side of the international break, Bruce and Newcastle need to find a way to deliver more goals (even a few chances) or the situation will only get worse.

It is 263 minutes since Newcastle last scored in the Premier League when Jetro Willems’s thunderbolt at Liverpool raised brief early hope, the longest barren run in the top-flight. But why?

Put simply Newcastle, despite spending more than £80m this year on fresh attacking talent, aren’t creating chances. They didn’t have one effort on target at Leicester, and have only had 60 shots in the seven matches so far – fewer than any other team.

Newcastle need the ball more to improve that statistic, and they have touched the ball in the opposition box less than any other side too. And that is the case even though they have the likes of Joelinton, Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximim in their ranks.

Bruce’s tactics have been heavily criticised, unfairly at times, even though the players are adamant they are behind the head coach and enjoy working under him. If he is to stand any chance of lifting Newcastle out of the bottom three, his team needs to develop a way to find the net.

Almiron, despite his goals and assists in the weaker MLS for Atlanta United, is still waiting for his first goal and despite plenty of endeavour he is not looking like a Premier League player. His situation is not helped by the fact he has always been seen as a No 10, or an attacking midfielder, for club and country and now he finds himself having to defend on the right.

Bruce said: “I haven’t thought about him coming out the team because I think he’s a very, very good player. I’ve got to stick with him because hopefully he will get a goal and that will turn things around a bit.

“He takes the ball away from home as well. His willingness is remarkable. He’s just got to be a bit more selfish himself and hopefully score a goal. Once he gets one it will change for him.

“The biggest problem is, what is his best position? He’s a really good footballer. He’s not a centre-forward or a natural No.10 either, he’s an old-fashioned inside forward, so we have to get the best out of him.”

Then there’s Joelinton. He scored a nice winner at Tottenham, has shown he can lead the line and hold the ball up as well as work, but he looks like he can fade and become fed up on the field when he is being left isolated up front like he is.

“He's young, he's 22 - and so is Allan Saint-Maximin as well – and to be fair to him, new country, Premier League, the number nine ... he'll be fine, he'll be fine,” said Bruce.

“Last week, like all of them, they found it difficult, and he did, but I've got no problem that he will be a very, very decent player.

“We have to get better service to him, I understand that too, and we've been a little bit hamstrung in terms of personnel to play with him, but I'm sure he'll get better.”

That situation is why Andy Carroll, plagued by injuries for years, is seen as such a key component if he can prove his fitness when there remains huge doubts about his ankle problems. Dwight Gayle would be an alternative too, but it will be after the international break when he can figure.

Newcastle need goals but defensively at Leicester there was disappointment – which led to a huge inquest among the players and backroom staff – when it highlighted growing deficiencies at the back too. The biggest job of Bruce’s career was always going to be his toughest, and the jury remains out as to whether he can handle it.