The majority of Newcastle United players stayed off social media in the immediate aftermath of the Magpies' 1-0 defeat against Everton on Thursday night, but Bruno Guimaraes quickly got his message across after the game. Although Bruno is heading off on international duty, the midfielder spoke for the dressing room when he urged his team-mates to simply 'focus on training and playing better' as they prepare to travel to Dubai for a warm-weather camp.
Clearly, Bruno's influence is growing on and off the pitch. Bruno had 81 touches at Goodison Park - more than any other Newcastle player - as the mid-season arrival repeatedly demanded the ball and dictated the tempo in just his third start for the club. To put that figure into perspective, midfield partners Joelinton and Joe Willock had 53 and 42 touches respectively.
You can see why Bruno has quickly earned his team-mates' trust and why they give him the ball. The big-money signing completed 94% of his passes against Everton and all 16 of his long balls picked out a team-mate.
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A couple of quality passes stood out on the night. There was one through ball in the early stages that sent Emil Krafth clear down the right and a smart switch of play in the 11th minute picked out Ryan Fraser, who found the head of Chris Wood with his cross.
Everton soon wised up and Anthony Gordon was tasked with effectively man marking Bruno in an effort to cut off Newcastle's oxygen supply. The pair soon clashed and, after angrily taking issue with Gordon knocking him off the ball after he had already released it, Bruno shoved the youngster.
However, Bruno was not deterred. As well as attempting to make things happen when he got on the ball - Bruno even went close to breaking the deadlock in the 69th minute after getting on the end of Miguel Almiron's cutback - the midfielder also helped to take the sting out of the game at times to frustrate Everton. Bruno completed 56 carries, which is the number of times he controlled the ball with his feet rather than immediately releasing it, as the playmaker looked to calm things down and help Newcastle retain possession in what was a hot atmosphere.
Off the ball, too, Bruno played his part and showed why Eddie Howe does not consider him a 'luxury player' like some outsiders did when the technician first joined the club back in January. Bruno, on the contrary, looked to win back possession whenever he lost it.. One moment, in particular, stood out in the first half when the towering Abdoulaye Doucoure dispossessed Bruno deep in Newcastle's half only for the Brazilian to recover and win the ball back from the midfielder literally seconds later.
It was one of nine successful pressures Bruno made on Thursday night to retrieve possession for his side while the 24-year-old also made more interceptions (three) than any other Newcastle player as well as five tackles. One such composed challenge on Seamus Coleman inside the penalty area caught the eye after the Everton captain had dribbled past Joelinton and Matt Targett late on.
At that stage, Newcastle had lost control in the middle of the park and Bruno did tire as the game went on in his third start in a week as the visitors struggled to regain control even with a man advantage after Allan's controversial red card. Alex Iwobi duly popped up with a 99th-minute winner for Everton but, of all those in black-and-white, Bruno emerged with credit on what was ultimately a disappointing night.
It was only a few weeks ago that Howe challenged Bruno to 'play so well that I don't want to take him out'. The Brazil international may have just done that.
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