JOHN Carver says his “conscience is clear” over the weakened Newcastle United team he fielded in the FA Cup.
The Magpies’ 1-0 defeat to Leicester City last weekend prompted an angry backlash from supporters fed up with the club’s dismal record in the competition.
Caretaker manager Carver – who will remain in charge for tomorrow’s game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge – made seven changes for the third-round tie.
And fans turned on the players, Carver and owner Mike Ashley after the final whistle at the King Power Stadium.
Carver left a number of players – including captain Fabricio Coloccini and midfielder Moussa Sissoko – behind on Tyneside.
Absentees Coloccini, Sissoko, Daryl Janmaat, Jack Colback and Ayoze Perez are all expected to face Chelsea along with fit-again goalkeeper Tim Krul.
Carver, however, is adamant he did not choose to field a weakened team in the cup on the orders of Ashley or managing director Lee Charnley, having said he would select his “strongest” XI in his pre-match Press call.
“I’ve not had a conversation with Mike,” said Carver. “On that Friday night I rang Lee round about 10.30pm.
“We’d just had a team meeting, and Steve Stone, myself and the analyst Ben (Stevens) were preparing the meeting for the next morning.
“I ran Lee and said ‘this is the team that’s playing tomorrow and these are the reasons why’.
“He was a little bit surprised, to be honest. I told him the situation.
“I pick the team. I picked the strongest team I could pick – I’ve got a clear conscience.
“I took medical advice from the doctor.”
Carver said he felt “sick” was he was told by club doctor Paul Catterson that the likes of Coloccini, Sissoko and Janmaat would not be fit to play.
“I actually felt physically sick when he told me about Colo, Moussa and Janmaat,” said Carver.
“He’s the expert in this field, and I have to trust that.
“I’m not a medical person. We played four games in eight days. You can understand people having problems and issues.
“You have to take his word. When he tells me these people aren’t available, it’s a big concern.
“Saying that, we still had enough quality on the pitch to have done better.”