Sam Allardyce insists it is too early for Newcastle United fans to round on Steve Bruce.
The Magpies have won only one of their opening seven Premier League games this season and were thumped 5-0 by Leicester City on Sunday.
Bruce, appointed as manager in the summer, is coming under fire but Allardyce insists he was unfortunate to see Isaac Hayden sent off shortly before half-time against Leicester for a ‘reckless’ challenge.
And he has pointed to the fact Bruce’s popular predecessor Rafa Benitez didn’t win a game until November last season as proof the current man in the hotseat needs time to get things right.
“To blame Bruce just yet is a long way off as he has only just arrived,” Big Sam, who had a six-month spell as Newcastle boss, told talkSPORT.
“They did go down to ten men [against Leicester] with a tackle that would have been perfectly legal in our day. He played the ball but his momentum carries him straight through into the opposition player and everyone calls that one reckless. I would like to know how you do that tackle. He couldn’t stand on his feet because he was too far away.
“I understand he catches the lad as he goes through the ball and we don’t want to see players injured but it is very difficult to make that decision.
“In the end, it is how they capitulated. Down to ten men it is very difficult but they should have put up a better defensive performance. The ten should have sat in there and played the rest of the game out.
“Steve will be sleeping very restlessly at the moment. It is going to be a tough one up to maybe Christmas. But, in saying that, we have got to look at the situation and say he has got more points than Rafa had this time last year.
“I still don’t know why Steve is getting stick. Rafa didn’t get stick but Steve is. I just don’t understand it.”