Steve Bruce bemoaned the Premier League’s Christmas and New Year scheduling as an injury-ridden Newcastle fell to defeat to Leicester.
Hosts Newcastle conceded three goals without being able to reply as Leicester continued their incredible season, but Bruce believes the difference between the depth available to either club had a bearing on the result.
Bruce was forced into making all three subs before the second half had even begun, as his side continue to be plagued with injuries – and it has clearly put a strain on the Magpies manager.
“I haven’t witnessed 15 minutes like that,” he said to BBC Sport. “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.
“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.”