Newcastle manager Steve Bruce admitted that he should have withdrawn Allan Saint-Maximin earlier in Sunday’s 0-3 defeat against Brighton.
The 23-year-old picked up a knock in last week’s Carabao Cup win over Blackburn but recovered in time to make the starting XI yesterday. However, he was taken off with an ankle injury on 33 minutes and, even at that, Bruce conceded that he should have made the substitution earlier.
As per The Shields Gazette, the Magpies boss said of the winger: “He needed to recover today against the boy he was playing against (Tariq Lamptey), who was all action. In hindsight maybe I should have took him off a bit earlier.”
Saint-Maximin had been passed fit to play by Bruce in the days leading up to the Brighton game, with the manager claiming on Friday that “he’s fine”. However, the 59-year-old’s decision to start the Frenchman backfired in the very early stages at St James’ Park.
There were only four minutes gone when the 23-year-old, perhaps not at his explosive best, gave away a penalty for a foul on sprightly youngster Lamptey which was converted by Neal Maupay for the first of the Seagulls’ three goals (as per Sky Sports).
Did Steve Bruce make a mistake by starting with Saint-Maximin against Brighton?
In hindsight it is easy to castigate Bruce for starting the French winger considering that he may not have been fully fit after he went off against Blackburn. However, with Saint-Maximin finishing last season strongly and impressing against West Ham, when he drew seven fouls from the Londoners, it was understandable why the manager wanted to start him yesterday.
Unfortunately the calculated gamble backfired on Bruce, who is now set to be without his main creative threat from 2019/20 for a potentially lengthy period of time. These are the flip-a-coin selection calls which managers must make and, in this instance, it did not pay off for the Magpies boss.
Newcastle fans, what do you make of Bruce’s admission that he should have substituted Saint-Maximin earlier? Comment below with your views!
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