Newcastle’s poor form continued in dismal fashion as they crumbled to a 3-0 defeat at home to Leicester, with Steve Bruce rightly bearing the brunt of criticism from fans.
The Magpies were never really in the game in truth despite the visitors playing without Premier League top scorer Jamie Vardy, and the game seemed gift-wrapped for the Foxes after Florian Lejeune played in Ayoze Perez to open the scoring on his first return to St. James’ Park since leaving in the summer.
From then on Brendan Rodgers’ side dominated with 77% possession and two more goals, with the Frenchman at fault again for the second, meaning he too was criticised by fans.
The defender has now started in four consecutive matches despite there being just a few days between each fixture and him only recently making a return from a long-term injury lay-off, which led supporters to question Bruce’s decision-making.
Is he actually trying to break Lejeune again? Does he not want him for the rest of the season?
— Rich Harle (@RJHarle) January 1, 2020
Lejuene is not fully fit. Was a risk to play him
— Rick Fury (@rick_vengeance) January 1, 2020
I said before the game that Lejuene should not be playing today. Isn’t fit and too much being asked of him after a year out. Better playing a fit back 4 and playing an extra man in midfield. Why play a clearly unfit player today? He needs taken off now!
— lee mc (@leemcder) January 1, 2020
Overplayed Maxim and now Lejeune and risking another long term injury. Surely against Rochdale got to give Sorensen a start
— paul allan (@paulall04339552) January 1, 2020
While fans are correct to suggest that it is not right for the centre-back to play so many games in a row considering the circumstances, Bruce’s hands have been tied due to the injuries to other defenders.
Jamaal Lascelles, Ciaran Clark and Paul Dummett are all currently sidelined and therefore there was nobody available to replace Lejeune, though of course he could have sacrificed a defender and played a back four.
Who the heck is that?! Can you name all 25 of these obscure Liverpool signings…
He will now perhaps be regretting the decision to start the 28-year-old following his torrid display, and fans certainly made it clear that he played far below the level that is required of a Toon player.
@NUFC Take Lejeune off! Dont wanna see that guy play again this season. Shocking. Absolutely shocking
— Jay Ashun (@JKOversion1) January 1, 2020
Yep. Lejeune is a different player to the one who got injured. Awful.
— Dabooka (@Dabooka) January 1, 2020
I hate to say it but lejuene looks done. He’s all over the place today and so slow. Shame was very good before his injuries #nufc
— Matt Standing (@wa7th3m) January 1, 2020
Whether it’s the injuries, fatigue or the Steve Bruce effect, Lejeune has gone from being a classy defender to an absolute liability. #nufc
— Sam GC (@Funguslover) January 1, 2020
Meanwhile, fans have also been reacting to a transfer rumour concerning Rangers’ Alfredo Morelos, as Steve Bruce has taken an interested in him.