Rafa Benitez found himself in a very strange situation on Tuesday night during Newcastle’s injury-heavy win over Blackburn in the FA Cup.

An injury to centre-back Ciaran Clark at half-time led the manager to risk bringing on captain Jamaal Lascelles in his place for the second half.

But what happened next baffled fans and pundits alike.

Disaster hit following the substitution, as Lascelles appeared to hold his hamstring just minutes after coming on.

(Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

The manager prepared Isaac Hayden to replace him but for some reason, the substitution was not immediate.

Lascelles instead continued to play on while holding the back of his leg.

Benitez did not seem to know whether the defender needed to come off or not, and Lascelles made little signal to the bench.

It was a bizarre moment in which the captain continued to play for ten minutes, and was very lucky not to give away a goal.

He was eventually replaced, but appeared to have a disagreement with Benitez before heading down the tunnel.

The situation was very confusing and it’s left Newcastle fans split as to where the blame lies.

Newcastle fans react to Lascelles vs. Blackburn


Who’s to blame?

The truth is that no one comes out of this situation looking professional.

It’s not known whether Lascelles warmed up properly or not, but either way his reaction to the injury was ridiculous.

It’s embarrassing to pull up with a hamstring problem minutes after coming on, but that’s football. He should have known better than to play on.

He was probably fully aware that he couldn’t continue, but  he didn’t seem to effectively signal to the bench this was the case.

(Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

Instead he attempted to defend numerous attacks, and very nearly gifted Blackburn a goal with a looping half-hearted clearance.

But Rafa Benitez and his staff reacted to the situation equally as poorly.

It was obvious that the captain could not continue, but Benitez let his captain dictate what was happening.

The Spaniard has enough experience in the game to understand that Lascelles needed to be substituted.

Yet he delayed his decision until it became comical.

It was a worrying lack of communication between manager and captain, and hopefully it wont create any long term damage.

(Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

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