Steve Bruce singles out 'dominant' Newcastle United player for special praise
Allan Saint-Maximin, rightly, grabbed the headlines at Turf Moor.
The winger came off the bench and changed yesterday’s game against Burnley, scoring one goal and setting up another for Jacob Murphy in a 2-1 win for Newcastle United.
However, Sean Dyche’s side, leading 1-0 at the break, would have been further ahead by the time Saint-Maximin came on in the 57th minute had it not been for Martin Dubravka, who had to deal with a series of shots and deliveries into the box.
Dubravka – who dominated his box and was a vocal figure on the field – also stopped a sliced clearance from team-mate Paul Dummett.
And Steve Bruce – who recalled Dubravka to his team in February after Karl Darlow made an error against Manchester United at Old Trafford – felt it had been the 32-year-old goalkeeper’s best game for a “long time”.
"He made a big save just before half time,” said United’s head coach. “Up until then, I would have expected him to make the saves he’s made.
"But he was so dominant, which was what we needed. I don’t think Dychey the credit he deserves. You know it’s coming in your box.
"They pile it in. they’ve got wonderful delivery from (Ashley) Westwood, (Dwight) McNeill and the right-back (Matthew) Lowton in particular. They put it on the money all the time.
"So you need your goalkeeper to come and be dominant. That, in my opinion, has been his best performance in a long time. I know he’s been injured, but he looked very, very assured and very dominant, which has been great.”
Dubravka missed the start of the season after suffering a heel injury which needed surgery last summer.
Midfielder Sean Longstaff also impressed against Burnley. The 23-year-old had returned to the starting XI a week earlier after a two-month spell out of the team following January’s 1-0 defeat to Sheffield United.
Newcastle, 17th in the Premier League, are six points ahead of third-bottom Fulham with a game in hand ahead of Saturday’s home game against West Ham United.
“It’s three points towards that magic figure,” Bruce said. “As I’ve said all along, it doesn’t matter what the other teams do, you’ve got to get there yourself."