Whelan stands by comments

Wigan chairman Dave Whelan stands by his 'fair' assessment of Callum McManaman's challenge on Massadio Haidara despite Newcastle United's 'baffled' response.

Last Updated: 19/03/13 at 11:10 Post Comment

Callum McManaman: The Wigan player's challenge on Massadio Haidara left Newc

Callum McManaman: The Wigan player's challenge on Massadio Haidara left Newc

Newcastle are waiting on the results of a scan on left-back Haidara after he was stretchered off following a strong tackle from McManaman on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Football Association is awaiting referee Mark Halsey's official match report before deciding whether to take the matter further but Whelan has previously said it was fair.

Newcastle were understood to have been left struggling to comprehend Whelan's opinion but the Wigan chairman has since told Sky Sports News: "I stand by my comments."

Visiting manager Alan Pardew had been left furious about McManaman's challenge after the final whistle at the DW Stadium at the weekend.

Asked how he would react if a Wigan player had been on the receiving end of the tackle, Whelan, whose own playing career was ended in the 1960 FA Cup final by Norman Deeley, said: "I would be saying, 'football is a tough game'. I do not think there was any intent from our lad to hurt the Newcastle player."

Newcastle assistant coach John Carver and Wigan coach Graham Barrow were both sent to the stands at half-time as tempers boiled over in reaction to the incident.

But Whelan claims Newcastle's hierarchy were not overly angry when he met them over a meal after the game.

"I spoke to Derek Llambias after the match and, I have to say, the Newcastle people who we dined with took it all on the chin and thought, 'yeah it is part and parcel of the game'," said Whelan.

"I know there were some bad things said on the line. But the referee took charge of that and dispatched two of them. So, hopefully, the lad (Haidara) can start playing again next Saturday. Hopefully he will be okay and not be too seriously injured.

"But you are going to get injured if you play football professionally. It is a tough game."

Meanwhile, the controversial win over Newcastle has been seen as the potential start to relegation-zone occupants Wigan's perennial escape from the drop.

"We were not at our best yesterday," said Whelan. "But the fighting spirit is still there in Wigan. You can see that from Roberto (Martinez) right through the team.

"They are determined to stay in this league."

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S I've always envisioned him as a Pirlo or a Scholes, though he needs some of Andy Murray's conditioning and shiny, ankle supports to keep his own from buckling under the tackles that will (inevitably) come his way. He's got the physique and low centre of gravity to flourish, but needs to make himself more resilient.

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