Sport Soccer

Saturday 20 January 2018

No thaw in Magpies' bad feelings over horror tackle

Luke Edwards

The bad feeling caused by Callum McManaman's horrific tackle on Massadio Haidara is showing little sign of easing, with Newcastle manager Alan Pardew claiming that neither the player nor Wigan Athletic have apologised for the incident.

With no Premier League games since McManaman caught Haidara on his knee during Wigan's 2-1 win 12 days ago, both Pardew and his Wigan counterpart Roberto Martinez were drawn into discussing the incident again for the first time, and neither was willing to alter their stance.

Martinez continued to defend his young midfielder, insisting he had not deliberately tried to hurt Haidara, while simultaneously praising his full-bloodied commitment and tipping the winger for future England recognition.

Pardew, who was frustrated by the FA's refusal to retrospectively punish the Wigan player as the tackle had been seen by one of the linesman, responded by expressing his shock at the way Wigan had defended McManaman.

"I have been impressed with Callum's attitude and the manner in which he has taken everything in," said Martinez, who feels the 21-year-old has been the victim of a witch hunt. "He has been a mature boy.

"I think this tackle looked more dangerous that it probably was. I think people will see that he is young and on his full debut.

"He showed to me that he was prepared to give his life to win a ball and that is what you need when you are in a fight like we are at this football club.

"We were obviously very concerned because we don't want to see injured players. We are very happy to find out it was not a major injury to (Haidara)."

Pardew confirmed that his new arrival from Nancy had escaped any major damage and should be available to play against Benfica in the Europa League next week.

However, having been told that Haidara may well have dislocated his knee cap when McManaman hit him, only for it to pop back into place, he remains annoyed.

"I don't think there has been an apology," said Pardew. "I was a little bit surprised with the (Wigan) manager's and the chairman's comments saying that it was a fair challenge, when I think everybody else could see that it wasn't. But that's opinions.

"I can understand them wanting to protect their player, but I would be interested to know what they would have thought if it was Cheick Tiote on (James) McCarthy, their outstanding young midfield player." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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