'I don't get it' - Jeff Stelling questions Steve Bruce decision over Newcastle player with 'X Factor'
The Magpies looked bright for spells at Old Trafford, but still slumped to a 3-1 loss that did little to ease their relegation worries.
Toon talisman Allan Saint-Maximin scored a goal that would ultimately prove to be a consolation partway through the first half, but both he and Miguel Almiron were taken off by Bruce shortly after the hosts added a third in the 75th minute.
Looking back on the substitutions during today’s edition of Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday, Stelling queried the wisdom behind Bruce’s thinking.
He said: “They’ve gone 3-1 down at Old Trafford. Haven't played too badly, but gone 3-1 down.
"Steve Bruce almost immediately takes off Saint-Maximin and Almiron.
"Why? I don’t get it.
“I talk about Saint-Maximin, and you can say that they're saving him for the next game or whatever, but he’d been quiet on the night at Old Trafford.
"But he’s the sort of player who can always do something.
"If he hasn’t touched the ball for 15 minutes, he’s always able to come up with something”.
Paul Merson agreed with the veteran host, adding: “100%. I was watching the game and at 1-1, I’m thinking, ‘How’s Fulham’s luck?’.
"They’ve just got a great result, and then Newcastle are going to go to United and might even snatch it.
"But you keep him [Saint-Maximin] on as the X Factor. He is the X Factor for them. Especially at Manchester United.”