Sam Allardyce has apologised to his central defenders David Rozehnal and Steven Taylor for leaving them out of the Newcastle United side.
The Czech international and the current England Under-21 captain were United's first-choice central defensive pairing at the start of the season.
But, while Rozehnal has been on the bench for the past couple of games, Taylor was forced to watch Monday's victory over Spurs from a seat in the stands.
And United boss Allardyce admitted to the Evening Chronicle: "David Rozehnal has done nothing wrong at all, and Steven Taylor hasn't done much wrong either and he didn't get on the subs bench.
"That's a measure of what I've been trying to get in terms of the squad.
Keeping them all fit has been a problem, but once they are all fit then it's going to be a battle to get in the team or on the subs bench - and I think that's really healthy.
"It's going to frustrate and upset a few players, but if we're winning games - and that's happening - they have to accept it.
"When a player gets in the team, he has to fight to keep the shirt. That grows the spirit and culture of the club, and it increases the desire to get the shirt and not lose it. That's what a manager's really looking for."