JOHN Carver has stood by his controversial FA Cup team selection – amid a backlash from angry Newcastle United fans.
Carver made seven changes for the club’s third-round tie against Leicester City.
And the weakened team fielded at the King Power Stadium bowed out of the competition, with Leonardo Ulloa scoring the only goal of a poor game.
Carver, put in temporary charge last week after Alan Pardew’s departure to Crystal Palace, left Fabricio Coloccini, Daryl Janmaat, Moussa Sissoko – all nursing minor injuries – on Tyneside.
Ayoze Perez was rested, and Jack Colback travelled, but wasn’t passed fit to play.
They had been involved in a hectic festive programme which had seen United play four games in nine days, culminating in last Thursday’s 3-3 home draw against Burnley.
“I thought in the game against Burnley we played some really good football in the first 45 minutes,” said Carver.
“We were disappointing in the second half and now the physical data has come back, Burnley just over-run us, we had no legs in the team.
“I’ve prepared and organised this team as best I can. I put the best team on the pitch in the circumstances.”
Many supporters have blamed the defeat on Carver’s team selection.
Asked about the injuries that limited his options, Carver said: “Janmaat had a problem with his groin.
“Sissoko – both of his hamstrings were tight, and I didn’t want to risk that. Coloccini had a problem with a nerve leading into his buttock.”
“Even the morning of the game, we had Jack Colback travel with us despite having a tight hamstring.
“Unfortunately, he felt worse and didn’t play. That’s why I didn’t take the gamble and he wasn’t even on the bench.
“I put out the strongest team – other than Ayoze Perez.
“Perez is coming into a new culture from Spanish football, and he’s one of our best players – one of our shining lights in a season when we didn’t even expect him to be in the team.”
Leicester manager Nigel Pearson also made seven changes.