Steve Bruce admitted Newcastle striker Joelinton played ‘lame’ to save the possibility of his team going down to 10 men in their 1-1 draw against Wolves at Molineux.
Newcastle lost centre back Paul Dummett and striker Dwight Gayle to injury in the first 28 minutes, and although Joelinton suffered a groin injury, the £40m club record signing stayed on to prevent the Magpies having no further substitutes to use. He was eventually replaced by Andy Carroll with 11 minutes left.
“We lost Dwight and Jo is basically lame, but he carried on,” said manager Bruce. “He should have come off but we couldn’t really make the substitution because of what had happened the week before and the threat of going down to 10 men.
“Unfortunately, we lost Dwight after 28 minutes, and when Jo is then lame, it’s going to be a tough afternoon.
“I was thinking of taking Jo off, but that would have left us with no subs and after what happened against Leicester, I just erred on the side of caution a bit and thankfully we showed enough resilience to hold on, which was great to see. He wanted to stay on.
“I haven’t known anything like it. I thought it was going to be a repeat of what happened at home to Leicester, when we lost four players in 12 minutes.
“We’ve lost two players in two minutes here, and Jo should have come off.
“He played at half pace in the second half, but at least had the courage to carry on when we’re down to the bare bones.
“It’s ridiculous. I’ve never known anything like it in my time in football.
“We think we’re getting two or three back, and all of a sudden we lost three or four at Rochdale last week and another two today, possibly three. We’ll see what we’ve got tomorrow.”
Dummett suffered a hamstring injury in his other leg after recovering from a similar knock, and Gayle did similar, while Joelinton has damaged his groin.
“Dummett has injured his other leg. I’ve been around the block lots of times, and all the medical staff is the same medical staff that was here all last year,” added Bruce.
“I didn’t replace or take in any new medical staff. Nothing has changed in that respect.
“Of course we’ll go into it in depth, and I’ll ask a few questions as to the reasons why.
“Are we just unfortunate, or is there a reason why? I’ve got my own ideas – I keep telling everybody it’s the amount of the games we’ve played.
“When you play people fatigued, even though we’ve had a free week this week, you risk that trouble. But it’s not normally as severe as what we’ve got.”
Wolves dominated and Bruce praised goalkeeper Martin Dubravka after he made fine saves to deny Raul Jimenez in the first half and Pedro Neto in the second, while Matt Doherty’s shot was cleared off the line by Matty Longstaff.
Bruce praised Dubravka but admitted Newcastle didn’t have the personnel to carry a threat because of their injuries.
“We certainly scored a great goal, a really top-class goal,” he said. “But unfortunately after that, we didn’t really carry the threat that we had at the start of the game.
“You thank your goalkeeper because he’s made two great saves, and with the problems we’ve got, I think they deserve it.
“He made two really top saves. He’s done that a few times to be fair, and we’re blessed that we’ve got a very good goalkeeper.
“They’ve run a million miles and the resilience was there for everybody to see.
“We lacked that bit of quality at the top end of the pitch again, but I couldn’t fault their effort and endeavour.
“We’d take it (a point). I was delighted with the start.”