Meyler not chasing red end for Rob
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.
“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