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Pardew criticises X-rated challenge as Carver is sent to the stands
FLASHPOINT: John Carver, middle, wearing the white tracksuit top, is held back by James Perch, left, as Wigan coach Graham Barrow, in front of Carver, exchanges words with the Newcastle assistant manager while Callum McManaman, right, looks on.
NEWCASTLE manager Alan Pardew last night slammed the “awful challenge” that left full-back Massadio Haidara nursing knee ligament damage in the wake of his side's 2-1 defeat at Wigan Athletic.
Haidara will be assessed on Tyneside later today after Callum McManaman's horrific tackle forced him to leave the field on a stretcher during the first half of yesterday's game.
McManaman escaped censure for the challenge, with referee Mark Halsey failing to even award a yellow card despite the Wigan attacker clearly planting his foot into Haidara's knee with his studs showing.
The incident enraged Newcastle's players and staff, and assistant manager John Carver was involved in an unseemly altercation with Wigan's backroom staff on the field at half-time that resulted in him being sent to the stands.
Carver's conduct is likely to result in an FA charge, and it will be a major surprise if McManaman does not also receive a lengthy retrospective punishment once the authorities have had an opportunity to assess video evidence of his recklessness.
“It's an awful challenge,” said Pardew, who also lost another full-back, Mathieu Debuchy, to a first-half hamstring strain. “The pictures speak for themselves. I thought it was a bad challenge straight away, and I was 60 yards away from the incident.
“We all thought it was a bad challenge, and when it filtered through that it was as bad as it was, it just made things worse. The players knew how bad it was because they were on top of it. There was a lot of bad feeling about that incident, especially when it goes unpunished.
“I spoke to the referee at half-time, and he said, 'If I've missed it, I apologise'. But the players get affected by something like that. When it goes unpunished, it doubles the impact on the mentality of the players. It had an impact on us and you can't get away from that.”
Wigan boss Roberto Martinez claimed not to have seen a replay of the incident, but insisted it would be wrong to be too critical of 21-year-old McManaman, who was making his first Premier League start.
“As a young man, you know you are going to give your life for everything,” said Martinez. “I believe he gets the ball, then it's a bad challenge and the Newcastle player picked up an injury. Nobody wants to see that, but I can guarantee that's just a striker trying to win the ball.
“He's overenthusiastic because he's making his debut, but he hasn't got a nasty bone in his body. He didn't have any intention (to injure Haidara) and the referee was in a perfect position to see that. He saw that he was touching the ball, but the follow up is something Callum has to learn as a striker, he shouldn't be going into those situations.”
Pardew was understandably dismissive of Martinez's interpretation - “maybe he'll change his opinion when he sees it” - and was unwilling to discuss Carver's loss of composure as he was already on his way to the dressing room when it took place.
Carver strode on to the field to confront McManaman, and when Wigan assistant Graham Barrow saw what was happening, he rushed towards the Newcastle number two to move him on.
The pair exchanged angry words, Carver was jostled by at least two members of Wigan's backroom staff, and James Perch had to wrestle the assistant out of the firing line as a host of stewards and officials convened on the entrance to the tunnel.
“The referee told them both to stay in the crowd (for the second half),” said Martinez. “I believe he (Carver) was trying to get to our player. It's difficult for me to comment, but obviously it's something that should never happen. It's not for anyone to take justice into their own hands.”
To add to Newcastle's sense of injustice, Wigan's last-minute winner should not have stood as Maynor Figueroa handled Jordi Gomez's corner before the ball dropped inside the six-yard box for Arouna Kone to sweep home.
“Decisions went against us again at the end,” said Pardew. “We should have had a corner at one end, then the ball goes up the other end and we clearly should have had a handball. It's tough to take.
“The linesman was looking right at it and the referee was there. All our players reacted to the handball and, in that split second, we didn't clear the ball. That was just our reaction to the handball, and that's what happens when the officials miss a decision as bad as that.”