FA should let bosses have their say
RAFAEL BENITEZ, the Liverpool manager, did not attack the referee after his team lost to Tottenham Hotspur. Attack is newspaper short-hand for a robust answer to a legitimate question. “So and so launched a furious attack on such and such…” we read the next day. The problem is it makes men seem angrier than they are.
On that afternoon, Benitez was critical of the match official Phil Dowd, who he thought had made significant errors, mainly to the disadvantage of Liverpool. Benitez was wrong. Not wrong to say what he did, but, quite literally, wrong. Benoit Assou-Ekoto, the Tottenham full-back, appeared to use his weight leaning in against Andriy Voronin, as defenders do, and did not trip him, and for the handball claim he had his arm across his body, rather than hanging out, in a deliberate attempt to avoid committing an offence. However, Sammy Lee, the Liverpool assistant manager, was sent off for protesting and as the press box at White Hart Lane is situated directly behind the opposition bench we could see Liverpool’s coaching staff were furious.
So Benitez did not attack Dowd by ranting and raging, or even by volunteering the information. He was asked about Dowd’s performance because it was clearly an issue and performed an amusing little mime in which he removed his glasses from an inside jacket pocket. He also said, quite calmly, that Liverpool having already been given one penalty — a legitimate one, in fact — he doubted whether a referee would be brave enough to give a second.
This week, Benitez was warned