Newcastle United injuries result of festive fixture schedule - Steve Bruce

'One of those awful afternoons' - Steve Bruce on Leicester loss

Newcastle boss Steve Bruce says the festive fixture schedule is to blame for his side suffering four injuries in the 3-0 home loss to Leicester.

United had to substitute Jetro Willems and Javier Manquillo late in the first half and Jonjo Shelvey at half-time.

Fabian Schar then limped off, leaving them with 10 men for almost all of the second half.

"Asking players to play four games in 10 days is ludicrous and today is the consequence of that," said Bruce.

"I was concerned about the number of games but we could have lost five players today. Three of them are hamstrings and one [Jetro Willems] is a groin, while DeAndre Yedlin has broken his hand, we think.

"I didn't have the bodies to make changes as we had four or five out anyway."

Prior to the game on New Year's Day, Newcastle were already without defenders Ciaran Clark, Jamaal Lascelles and Paul Dummett and midfielders Matt Ritchie and Allan Saint-Maximin.

Wednesday's game was the fourth Bruce's side have played in the space of 12 days either side of Christmas.

Like most sides in the Premier League, Leicester have had a similarly demanding schedule, but were able to rest a number of players for their fixture at West Ham on 28 December.

However, other Premier League sides also suffered injuries on New Year's Day.

Premier League injuries suffered on New Year's Day
Aston Villa (v Burnley)Tom Heaton, Wesley (both knee)
Brighton (v Chelsea)Dan Burn (broken collarbone)
Everton (v Man City)Bernard (unknown)
Newcastle (v Leicester)Javier Manquillo, Fabian Schar, Jonjo Shelvey (all hamstring), Jetro Willems (groin)
Tottenham (v Southampton)Harry Kane (hamstring), Tanguy Ndombele (unknown)
Watford (v Wolves)Kiko Femenia (unknown)
Crystal Palace (v Norwich)Mamadou Sakho (hamstring)

Newcastle were already trailing 2-0 when Willems was forced off to become the first of four players Newcastle had to withdraw from the game in the space of 20 minutes either side of the break.

The finishes for each goal were superb, but Newcastle contributed to each, with Florian Lejeune gifting Ayoze Perez possession to score the first and then enabling James Maddison's second with a poor clearance.

Hamza Choudhury scored Leicester's third goal late in the game.

"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," added Bruce.

"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."


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