TalkSPORT pundit Simon Jordan has defended Steve Bruce’s decision to field a weakened side in Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup defeat to Burnley.
The Toon boss made NINE changes to the side that lost 2-0 to Aston Villa last weekend, leaving Allan Saint-Maximin on the bench and failing to include Callum Wilson in his matchday squad.
We were in control for large spells of the game and dominated Burnley in terms of chances created but, ultimately, failed to hit the back of the net and crashed out on penalties to Sean Dyche’s men.
Jordan – who appointed Bruce for a brief stint at Palace in 2001 – believes clubs like Newcastle and Burnley deciding to rotate the squad in the EFL Cup is not necessarily a bad thing, and thinks the game shows how toothless we are without Saint-Maximin, Wilson and Willock.
That may be right, but that doesn’t sit well when Bruce vowed to field a ‘very, very strong side’ just 24 hours before kick off. He talks up the importance of the cup and his eagerness to improve on last season, yet his actions suggested he was saving his bigger hitters for Saturday after two straight league defeats.
Here’s what Jordan had to say when speaking to Jim White – who was critical of Bruce’s team sheet after the gaffer previously said he would try to win a cup on Tyneside:
“I can understand the Burnleys and Newcastles of the World rotating because they don’t have the biggest squads.
“What they rotated specifically, Newcastle, is their creative talent.
“They’ve taken [Allan] Saint-Maximin, they’ve taken [Joe] Willock and they’ve taken Callum Wilson out of the line-up.
“When you take those three out of the line-up, you lose probably the ability to score goals.
“So, it was no surprise to see that Newcastle didn’t land any blows on Burnley in their cup tie.
“I think rotation, is in part, sensible.
“It’s dicey if you want to win the EFL Cup.
“It’s irrelevant if you don’t.”
“But Steve Bruce has said that cups are important, ‘we want to win one’, now they are out of one.”
“That is also true.
“But what it shows you, is probably, and Newcastle fans will have stronger views on this than me…if you take Callum Wilson, if you take Joe Willock out, and you take Saint-Maximin out, they haven’t got a lot.”