Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has moved to assure fans that Jose Enrique did not play prematurely to recovering from injury against Stoke on the weekend, with the left back leaving the ground just 23 minutes into play.
Enrique has been injured over the last two weeks with a hamstring problem, and has participated in minimal training, but Pardew told The Journal Enrique was sure he could play in the Stoke game.
“Our medical team were apprehensive about whether he could make the team, but José was very very confident,” said Pardew.
“That swayed my decision because he is such a good player. I didn’t want to think that I was protecting this performance because we have important games at home. I wanted to win the game at Stoke.”
Unfortunately no such win would occur for Pardew, with Newcastle being battered 4-0 by Stoke, and the Potters running ramped over the Toon. Newcastle now only have one win from 10 games, and are just three points above the relegation zone.
Pardew said that with Enrique desperate to be included in the team, he decided to be overly cautious about his hamstring injury, which was why the left back was substituted early on.
“I played what I thought was my best team and obviously he was part of that. We think we have taken him off in time. He is quite sensible.
“He has had this injury before and he felt is was just tightening. So, without putting him at risk in terms of tightening and pulling, we took him off.”
Newcastle face Wolverhampton after the international break, and have just seven games left to prove their worth in the Barclays Premier League flight.