At his pre-Chelsea press conference, John Carver has been forced at length to once again justify the team he put out against Leicester in the FA Cup.
On Wednesday I had an article published on this site entitled ‘Calls for Newcastle medics to transfer to NHS as six expected back for Chelsea’ which was (only very slightly) tongue in cheek.
This was following reports that all of Newcastle’s best players who were ‘injured’ would be back for this Saturday; Coloccini, Janmaat, Sissoko and Colback, while Perez was supposedly ‘too tired’ to play against Leicester, with the back in training Tim Krul making up the six.
At his press conference John Carver has insisted that the players were definitely injured but then does qualify it with the fact that some were more injured than others, with some carrying ‘niggles’.
This gets to the heart of the matter. Yes ideally players won’t play so many matches in a short space of time but the big question is; would some or all of the players who missed Leicester through ‘injury’ have played if it had been this Premier League with Chelsea on that day?
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There are very few fans who would believe that all of those players would have missed the Chelsea match in those circumstances and that is why supporters are so unhappy, the FA Cup was the only thing left this season to be able to daydream about, yet it was thrown away at the first hurdle.
Over to John Carver;
“I would just like to put the record straight because obviously there were a lot of rumours going about me fielding a weakened side.
“I actually made quite a bit of noise about the fact that I wanted to put a strong side out to win the FA Cup.”
“Unfortunately, on the Friday before the game, the doctor told me we had four or five players who were unavailable. Now I’m not a medical expert, he’s the medical expert, we played four games in eight days so I have to listen to him and I did listen to him.
“We had issues, we had problems, and it was a huge risk. I just couldn’t have thought about putting them on the pitch. I put the strongest team on the pitch.
Guys who missed out against Leicester available;
“Yes we’ve had now the FA Cup game, we’re now preparing for Chelsea.
“Hopefully all those guys who missed out against Leicester will be available.
“These guys had genuine injuries, genuine issues. Some of them might have been niggles, some of them more serious, but I think it is important that people know that I picked the strongest team.
“This had nothing to do with Mike (Ashley), nothing to do with Lee (Charnley). That was the best team I could have picked.”