Thursday 19 July 2018

Sparks flying as Hughes hits out at referee Moss

Seamus Coleman with his children during Everton’s lap of honour at Goodison Park after their final home game of the season. Photo: Reuters
Seamus Coleman with his children during Everton’s lap of honour at Goodison Park after their final home game of the season. Photo: Reuters

Chris Bascombe

Southampton manager Mark Hughes is facing an English FA charge after questioning the professionalism of referee Jonathan Moss.

Hughes accused Moss of lacking fitness in a series of sarcastic barbs following his side's 1-1 draw with Everton at Goodison Park.

Hughes: “We must not allow ourselves to be deflated.” Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Hughes: “We must not allow ourselves to be deflated.” Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

The Everton manager was livid because a free-kick was awarded against goalscorer Nathan Redmond deep into injury time and it was then allowed to be taken 10 yards from where the incident took place near the corner flag.

"The assistant referee is about two or three yards away and clearly sees it isn't a foul, but Jon Moss, who - as usual - is about 30 yards behind play, decided to give a free-kick," said Hughes.

Asked if he would speak to the official, Hughes replied: "No, what is the point. He's probably getting his breath back."

Explanation

The FA is sure to seek an explanation for the comments and the Welshman can anticipate a hefty fine if found guilty of overstepping the mark.

After the contentious free-kick, Everton benefited from an error by Ryan Bertrand which gave Tom Davies the chance to equalise via a cruel deflection in the 95th minute.

The point still ensured Southampton's fate remains in their own hands ahead of what looks a decisive meeting with Swansea tomorrow.

A Southampton victory would most likely ensure safety, although Hughes will be without centre-back Maya Yoshida, who was dismissed for two yellow card offences.

"We must not allow ourselves to be deflated," said Hughes. "We played well. We are not damaged in terms of confidence, we were damaged because we got so close to a significant result and a significant victory which clearly would have helped our situation.

"But it is still very much in our hands. We are playing well so we shouldn't have any apprehension in terms of what is ahead. Swansea are the team we have to damage."

Everton have long been clear of such troubles, and Sam Allardyce was at his most feisty after an unsatisfying performance brought late reward.

The Goodison crowd again directed their frustration at the manager, but Allardyce said his players felt their efforts in turning a potentially catastrophic campaign into a top-10 finish had gone uncredited.

The stadium was almost deserted when the players re-emerged for a lap of appreciation and Allardyce did not join his squad, citing media commitments.

He repeated his assertion that the combustible mood inside the ground might have been avoided if the Everton hierarchy were more proactive in publicly addressing his long-term future.

Although Allardyce said last week he felt he had been privately assured of his position for the remaining year of his contract, majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri has said nothing.

"It would have helped yes, but I can't control the board, I can't control what they say," said Allardyce.

"They are my bosses, so I can't be dictating and telling them what they should or should not do, but that has fuelled more speculation."

The vacuum has been filled with Everton fans demanding a change of direction in the dugout, while Moshiri leaves the man he appointed to take the flak.

Nobody can be surprised how Allardyce's reign has proceeded. He has performed exactly as expected, but Everton fans were always going to demand more than it was possible for him to deliver given the squad available, and his pragmatic style of management.

Allardyce has led the team to safety by adopting the back-to-basics brand of football served wherever he has been.

The situation has deteriorated despite a credible if unremarkable eighth-place finish because he was appointed amid a background of fans' intolerance. They crave an alternative long-term vision before the start of next season.

Venom

Given Allardyce's track record and the players at his disposal, it is bewildering those who gave him the job thought it would be any different.

Nevertheless, the venom continues to be aimed at the manager rather than those who put him in this position.

While admitting Saturday's display was "terrible", he said he felt sorry for his players for having earlier success undermined.

"I still have to stick up for the players on what they've done," he said. "I think results speak for themselves, personally. Certainly, the players feel rather sad they don't seem to be getting any credit for what they are doing.

"If you sit in the dressing room it feels like, 'we've won, but another bad performance, and everybody's saying it is a bad performance, and everyone is saying we are not doing this or that'." © Daily Telegraph, London.

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