‘Ludicrous’ schedule to blame for Newcastle injuries – Bruce

Joe Williams

Steve Bruce thinks the congested fixture schedule around Christmas was to blame for his side picking up four injuries in their 3-0 loss to Leicester City on Wednesday.

Brendan Rodgers restored six of the nine men he had rested at the weekend and saw the Foxes rip apart a weary Magpies team, who played the final 39 minutes with 10 men after Fabian Schar limped off with all three substitutions already made, on a grim afternoon for the locals among a crowd of 52,178 at St James’ Park.

However, they were indebted to dreadful errors from defender Florian Lejeune which paved the way for Perez’s 36th-minute opener and Maddison’s strike three minutes later before substitute Hamza Choudhury wrapped up the win in style at the death.

In truth, Leicester would have won at even more of a canter had it not been for the efforts of Newcastle keeper Martin Dubravka, who produced a string of fine saves to keep the scoreline just about respectable.

Jetro Willems, Javier Manquillo and Jonjo Shelvey were lost to injury before half-time and Bruce was noticeably frustrated at full-time.

Bruce told BBC Sport: “I haven’t witnessed 15 minutes like that. We gave away two poor goals and then lost four players to injury and DeAndre Yedlin broke his hand within a minute of coming on but played on.

“Jonjo Shelvey had a hamstring injury so we had no choice but to take him off at half-time. that was our third change, you just hope you can get through the second half but we didn’t get through a minute before Fabian Schar is injured.

“It’s ludicrous, three players with hamstring injuries in a game and it’s because they have to play tired. I said before Christmas that the amount of games is ludicrous and this is the result.”

Bruce added: “I’ve been involved in the game for 40 years but I’ve not seen anything like that. We lost four players in 20 minutes and gifted them two goals.

“It was a difficult afternoon for everyone concerned, one of those crazy days. It’s not as easy as saying we need players in, if there is someone who can improve us we will try.

“In the next week or so we hope to get some back, we have 10 out of 22 outfield players injured – it’s horrendous.

“That’s what football is sometimes. We have been rock solid for most of the season and in the last week we have made individual errors, you can’t account for that.

“Fatigue plays a part in that, Leicester had the option to make 10 changes the other day and we couldn’t do that.

“You get injuries by forcing players to play tired. That’s not an excuse it’s a fact.”