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The FA Cup Fourth Round

Monday Moan: RM just another hypocrite

Mark Holmes points out Roberto Martinez's hypocrisy but praises the reaction of Alan Pardew and Brendan Rodgers to defeats over the weekend.

Last Updated: 18/03/13 at 13:42 Post Comment

Roberto Martinez: Provided defence of Callum McManaman

Roberto Martinez: Provided defence of Callum McManaman

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Martinez comments contradictional

According to Wigan manager Roberto Martinez, it would be "very difficult" for the Football Association to punish Callum McManaman retrospectively for his challenge on Massadio Haidara because he touched the ball before thudding into the Newcastle defender.

That, of course, is immaterial, a fact Vincent Kompany can attest to. A tackle can be dangerous regardless of whether the ball is won - and McManaman did not even do that; he made only minimal contact with the ball before making exceptional contact with Haidara.

Immediately after the game, Martinez made the following comments: "It is a contact sport and these things happen but there was never any intent.

"He (McManaman) is not that sort of boy."

Martinez is absolutely right. The days of players going out to intentionally hurt opponents are long gone, but the pace of the game ensures there will always be mistimed tackles that cause injury.

Players such as McManaman who commit such mistimed tackles do not deserve to be villified - no matter what anybody says, there will always be poor challenges and unfortunate injuries in football.

However, many people are seemingly only willing to give the benefit of the doubt to their players. Earlier this season, for example, when James McCarthy was injured by Norwich's Bradley Johnson, Martinez was less forgiving and philosophical. "Believe me, it was a nasty challenge," the Latics boss said.

Furthermore, while Martinez pointed to McManaman's lack of intent on Sunday, he did not feel intent mattered when discussing Ryan Shawcross' tackle on Aaron Ramsey back in 2010.

"A tackle does not have to be malicious to be dangerous," he said. "I didn't think that it was malicious or that he was trying to hurt the player. But in that area of the pitch, it was unnecessary."

The same could be said of McManaman's challenge on Haidara out on Newcastle's left flank but Martinez, like all managers, has proved himself to be a hypocrite.

Assistant refereees not doing their job

Referees come in for a great deal of criticism - too much, in my opinion - yet the performances of their assistants go largely unnoticed.

They were called linesmen (or women) until 1996, but the title 'assistant referee' given to them suggests they are there to assist the referees with decisions other than the awarding of goal kicks, corner kicks and throw-ins.

Incidents of them making crucial decisions are far too few and far between, though, even when they in a better position than the referee to judge a bad tackle.

That was certainly the case at the DW Stadium on Sunday. Replays showed Halsey's view of the incident was blocked, but the assistant referee on that side of the pitch should have had a clear view.

If he missed it, he was not doing his job properly, and if he saw it but decided not to signal for a foul then he really shouldn't be officiating at the top level.

Pardew proves his class

In the past, I have accused Alan Pardew of a lack of class, but he certainly proved me wrong on Sunday.

He had every right to be furious after Newcastle's defeat at Wigan, not only about Haidara's injury but about the clear handball in the build-up to Latics' winner, yet he did not make any wild accusations about McManaman or referee Mark Halsey.

Other managers in his position may have attempted to sully the name of McManaman or hit out at Halsey, but Pardew, whilst expressing his disappointment about both incidents, too the two incidents on the chin, which must have been extremely hard to do.

There is far too much mud-slinging among Premier League managers, and it'd be great if more could react to moments of injustice in the same way.

Rodgers rolls with the punch

Talking of managers acting with dignity, Brendan Rodgers deserves credit for his reaction to Liverpool's defeat to Southampton on Saturday.

Far too often this season he has come across as delusional in defeat, but on this occasion he admitted Southampton "deserved to win".

It is his way to accentuate the positives, which is fine, but supporters also appreciate honesty and realism from managers, and Rodgers will do himself no harm at all if he adds a touch more of that to his interviews.

It may also help prevent the over-enthusiasm which seems to grip those associated with Liverpool after every good performance.

The team is starting to show clear signs of progress, but there is still a long road back to greatness ahead - and Rodgers needs to keep fans and players' feet on the ground.

You can follow me on Twitter @Homzy to see what I moan about for the rest of the week.

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