Meyler not chas­ing red end for Rob

Midweek Sport - - SPORT - By SEAN RAFTER

MARTIN O’NEILL has launched a stout de­fence of Sun­der­land mid­fielder David Meyler af­ter he was ac­cused of play-act­ing to get Robert Huth sent off.

Stoke man­ager Tony Pulis hit out at the Ir­ish­man af­ter his side’s 1-0 Premier League de­feat by the Black Cats on Satur­day, af­ter Ger­man de­fender Huth was dis­missed by ref­eree Martin Atkinson for a tackle which sent Meyler hurtling to the ground.

The Pot­ters lost their ap­peal against the red card yes­ter­day, but Sun­der­land boss O’neill, who didn’t see a re­play of the in­ci­dent un­til the fol­low­ing day, in­sists the of­fi­cial got it right. “I un­der­stand what Tony was say­ing from a gen­eral view­point be­cause play­ers do have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to try to keep fel­low play­ers on the field of play,” he said.

“I hadn’t had a chance to see the in­ci­dent un­til Sun­day. I saw it and I still have ex­actly the same opin­ion – it’s a reck­less chal­lenge.

“It’s one the ref­eree sees very, very quickly and his opin­ion of it was my opin­ion at the time, that it was a red card.

“Now ob­vi­ously you can see Huth at­tempted to pull out at the end, but that is some­thing the ref­eree can’t see in a split-sec­ond.

“He still catches Meyler and on the way down he’s hurt him­self.

“This idea that Meyler feigned an in­jury – I’m sorry, I know David and he is as brave as they come. He has had two hor­ren­dous in­juries he is just re­cov­er­ing from, so from that view­point I think Tony is wrong.

“His gen­eral view about play­ers hav­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity to stop play-act­ing, I to­tally agree with that point. But not in this case with David Meyler.”

Asked if he’d spo­ken to Pulis in the wake of his post-match com­ments, O’neill replied: “I was talk­ing to Tony af­ter­wards and I knew what he was go­ing to do.

“That’s fine, it’s to­tally his pre­rog­a­tive.

In­ten­tion

“But in this in­stance I will stick up for my player. If I thought any of my own play­ers were out of or­der, I’d like to think I would be able to come here and hon­estly give that as­sess­ment, but not in this case.”

Speak­ing af­ter the match, Pulis said: “We don’t want to take chal­lenges out of the game – we want to be as com­pet­i­tive and fair as we pos­si­bly can.

“But it is creep­ing into the game, where play­ers are go­ing down with the in­ten­tion of get­ting other play­ers booked or even sent off.”

TACKLE OUT: Huth slides in on Meyler at the Bri­tan­nia

SUP­PORT: David Meyler

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