With Saturday ruined by news of Willy Boly’s ankle, Sunday was also veering precariously close to Misery Street.
Trust Nuno to come up with an idea nobody else had thought of to fill the considerable void created by the big man’s absence, deploying Matt Doherty on the right side of a back three.
It didn’t work, but that had little to do with any defensive shortcomings.
Without the Irishman’s intelligence further upfield and Traore asked to play from deep, there was simply no attacking intent.
Every time our midfielders looked up, the ball was either sprayed out of play or driven into our forwards to make wine from water.
Newcastle didn’t take long to pick up the scent and were deservedly ahead at the break.
Fortunately, the special one wasted little time in remedying the situation.
With Dendoncker redeployed to where he should have been in the first place and a steady supply of passes to Traore, surprise, surprise, the game completely flipped.
Chances were created and squandered – the pick of which being the one Jota created for himself with a brilliant bustling run ruined by a slashed effort when a pass into the corner would have got it done.
I was admittedly sceptical about Nuno’s decision to hook him moments later, but with the equaliser arriving soon after you can’t argue with the outcome.
Jonny, who up to that point had been consistently awful, did wonderfully with the finish to reward some brilliantly incisive build-up – again down the right.
Even after the sending off – which was indisputable – I felt we did all the right things, used the extra man intelligently and created enough chances to take all the points.
Why VAR didn’t give the shirt pull on Matt Doherty at the death I don’t understand. If they were looking for a pull it was clearly visible on the replay, so either give it or don’t even bother reviewing.
We’ll enjoy the benefit of technology one day I’m sure.
In the meantime, I think there are plenty of positives to extract from another good comeback and a reminder that this team has sufficient character and quality to compete – even without the reassuring presence of one of the Premier League’s best defenders.
All that said – get well soon Willy.