Steve Bruce has spoken about the plight of Florian Lejeune over the past couple of matches. The Frenchman came back against Crystal Palace two weeks ago after being out over eight months with his second cruciate ligament injury in ten months.
Due to a shortage of defenders with Ciaran Clark, Paul Dummett, and Jamaal Lascelles all unavailable over the hectic holiday period, Florian was asked to play four games in ten days.
While he made it through the matches without getting injured, it proved not to be a sage decision. Florian was asked to play twice in 48hrs at Manchester United on Boxing day and then against Everton this past Saturday.
The 28-year-old was way off the pace against Everton. Bruce ended up substituting him late in the second half. Lejeune even took to social media to issue an explanation for his tired performance.
However, despite that, Lejeune was back in the starting eleven on New Year’s Day against Leicester City. In our opinion, that was pushing it a little too far.
Lejeune ended up making two very costly mental errors that resulted in goals for the Foxes. We felt terribly for Florian as he hung his head in dismay after both goals.
Bruce has spoken to BBC Newcastle about his decision to play Lejeune on Wednesday. As he was with Allan Saint-Maximin, who injured himself in the 95th minute against Southampton, the head coach expressed regret with how he handled Florian.
Matthew Raisbeck has tweeted some of Bruce’s response to Florian Lejeune’s errors on Wednesday.
"I could have played somebody out of position. Asking him to play four games in ten days – I'm as responsible for the goals as he was.
"So, I have to hold my hands up and say I was wrong."
— Matthew Raisbeck (@raisbeck10) January 3, 2020
We see no way in which Bruce will play Lejeune in tomorrow’s match at Rochdale, although we thought that would be the case for Wednesday.
If reports are correct, Bruce has brought two center-backs from the U23s in Ludwig Francillette and Lewis Cass to travel with the squad.
He also spoke in his press conference this morning about using Emil Krafth as a center back. So Florian should get the rest he needs and will hopefully be back to his old self at Molineux next weekend.