Pretty much everything went wrong for Newcastle and Steve Bruce on Sunday.
The result. The red card. The performance, if you could call it a performance. It was an absolute shambles and one that has been coming for Bruce.
But while a lot of fingers were pointed at him in the aftermath of the 5-0 drubbing, he did at least get one decision right. It was 4-0 after 64 minutes, with Andy Carroll and Ki Sung-Yueng brought on to get some minutes and shore up the midfield respectively.
With one substitute remaining, Bruce could easily have appeased fans and turned to Allan Saint-Maximin, despite the game being over as a contest. But instead, he brought on DeAndre Yedlin for his first minutes of the season.
It’s not that Yedlin is a better player than ASM, but playing the Frenchman just wasn’t worth the risk.
He’s been hindered with a hamstring problem ever since he arrived at St James’ Park. It’s been a niggling issue that has refused to go away. Even after his cameo against Brighton, there were suggestions he’d aggravated the injury.
But Bruce resisted temptation and left Saint-Maximin on the bench, meaning he can get another full week of training under his belt ahead of the Manchester United clash.
That is a game that the winger must start. The pressure on Bruce is huge right now and he needs all of his best players fit and firing.
Saint-Maximin has the ability excite fans – even the Newcastle fans who have nothing to get excited about right now. And Bruce’s decision to keep him on the bench against Leicester should mean he’s ready to give 100% from the start against Manchester United.