Sunday 24 September 2017

Referees must do better - Hughes

Stoke boss Mark Hughes felt Hull City's Maynor Figueroa, pictured, should have seen red
Stoke boss Mark Hughes felt Hull City's Maynor Figueroa, pictured, should have seen red

Stoke boss Mark Hughes has accused Maynor Figueroa of making an "horrendous tackle" on Stephen Ireland during Saturday's 1-0 win over Hull, rating the challenge as worse than Ashley Barnes' on Nemanja Matic last weekend and hitting out at the officials for taking no action.

Hughes had to take Ireland off at half-time of the Barclays Premier League contest at the Britannia Stadium due to a calf injury the Potters midfielder sustained when being tackled by Tigers defender Figueroa just before the break.

The manager after the game revealed Ireland had to have "something like 12 or 15 stitches" and claimed Figueroa should have been shown a straight red card.

Referee Neil Swarbrick had allowed play to continue at the time, and he and his assistant were strongly condemned by Hughes, who was quick to compare the incident to the one involving Burnley forward Barnes and Chelsea midfielder Matic at Stamford Bridge last Saturday which has drawn so much attention over the past week.

Reflecting on the victory, Hughes - whose side's winner came in the 71st minute when Ireland's replacement Charlie Adam delivered a cross that fellow substitute Peter Crouch headed home - said: "We were really pleased.

"But I have to say, it is tempered somewhat because we have Stevie Ireland having been on the end of an horrendous tackle in the first half - one that should have seen a straight red card, to be perfectly honest.

"Why the referee or his assistant haven't seen the severity of that challenge… He (Ireland) has come in at half-time, rolled his sock down, and I think everyone was taken aback by the severity of the gash on his calf.

"He has got something like 12 or 15 stitches in the leg wound, so for the officials to not see that challenge - I've seen it on video, and it is shocking.

"I'm highlighting it not because I want to get anyone in trouble - I'm just saying that, on the day, I thought the referee was poor.

"We had two players shown yellow cards, and in comparison to that challenge on Stevie Ireland, I think it is remarkable, astounding that the referee hasn't sent the lad straight off. They need to be better.

"The assistant referee was only 10 yards away for goodness' sake, so he needs to see that challenge. It is a poor one."

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho labelled Barnes' tackle on Matic - also not punished during the game - as "criminal".

And Hughes said: "I think there has been a lot of debate about a certain challenge in the Chelsea-Burnley game and I think this one is actually worse than that.

"Stevie didn't get up and run after the lad because he wasn't in a position to do so, due to the injury he had sustained.

"We are upset by that challenge and what it might entail for Stevie - he is going to be missing for any number of weeks. It was a terrible challenge.

"You just ask for the key moments in games to be refereed correctly, and I think that's the main gripe at the moment - key decisions are not being made correctly, or things are being missed on too many occasions. It has to improve."

Asked about games being 're-refereed' after the final whistle, Hughes added: "I'm not advocating anything, but I think it's a case of we have professional referees now and it is not a part-time job. It's about time they did their job correctly."

Giving his assessment overall of what was a scrappy contest, the Welshman said: "I thought we were the only team with an attitude of being positive and showing ambition.

"Hull came with a gameplan to make it difficult and get people behind the ball, which is their right.

"But in terms of trying to make a game of it, doing the right things and being creative, there was only one team deserving of the victory."

Hull boss Steve Bruce had his own complaints about the officials, insisting Crouch - who scored a minute after coming on, notching his ninth goal of the season and fourth in four appearances - had been offside.

Bruce said: "The defenders were adamant he was. They had done enough, because he is offside, but unfortunately, the linesman hasn't seen it that way.

"You expect them to get those decisions right. It is disappointing.

"I don't think we ever deserved to win the match, but you don't expect to lose the game to something like that, not at this level.

"I know they have a difficult job, made very difficult here - they get put under pressure from all sorts of people here. But if the linesman does his job properly, then we get a point."

Bruce, whose side are four points above the relegation zone in 15th while Stoke are 10th, also revealed Robbie Brady had missed the game due to a calf injury, and that top-scorer Nikica Jelavic had sat it out due to having a knee "twice as big as it should be".

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