Premier League – Managers: Bruce blasts Wiley


We round up what the men in charge made of Saturday’s matches, including Wigan boss Steve Bruce’s criticism of referee Alan Wiley, who opted not to sent off Arsenal’s Kieran Gibbs.

FOOTBALL 2008-09 Premier League Wigan Athletic manager Steve Bruce (right) and assistant Eric Black - 0

Wigan Athletic 1-4 Arsenal

Steve Bruce: “I cannot go with the referee thinking Antonio wasn’t in control of the situation and that he would not get the ball first. He was probably the quickest player on the pitch, so he was going to get the ball first. Hey, we might still have lost. But I know one thing, it a damn sight easier playing Arsenal with 10 men than it is with 11.”

Arsene Wenger: “I was a bit scared like everyone else but at that moment (Mikael) Silvestre was behind Gibbs and I hoped it would be a yellow. I still think our goalkeeper would have had the ball. It was not a goal chance. He (Valencia) had pushed the ball too far.”

Sunderland 1-2 Manchester United

Ricky Sbragia: “We have got six games and we have got to do the same as we did today for those next six games. They haven’t done it for the last three or four games, but today I thought they were excellent. The next six games are going to be really difficult and really hard. There are going to be a lot of changes here, there and everywhere regarding the table.”

Alex Ferguson: “He (Federico Macheda) has got something special about him, the boy. I haven’t seen the goal, but one of the players said he actually tried it. He side-footed it as it came to him. It’s that quick-thinking that goalscorers have got. He has just got that instinct. When they [Sunderland] got the equaliser, maybe a little bit against the run of play, nonetheless, it puts you under pressure to make decisions about your changes. Fortunately, I made the right one.”

Chelsea 4-3 Bolton Wanderers

Guus Hiddink: “It was a wake-up call for us and we talked to the boys straight after the game,” said Hiddink. “If you play at the top, you cannot afford to do it twice. We must not let it happen again. It is normal that the players react to the situation. It was a typical English game. We were leading 4-0 with 20 minutes to go and waiting for a fifth. All of a sudden we got very sloppy and too relaxed and didn’t win any duels defensively.”

Gary Megson: “We went through the whole range of emotions. There was anger at times with the way we defended but for the first 25 minutes we looked quite secure. For the last 25 minutes we bossed the game and scored three goals. I think we are the only team to come to Stamford Bridge and do that this season and yet we still lost 4-3 which is where the disappointment comes in. The introduction of young Chris Basham was more to do with the fightback. Because he is a youngster and has never played at Stamford Bridge before, he gave us the enthusiasm, the desire, the drive and the tenacity to go and have a real good go.”

Liverpool 4-0 Blackburn Rovers

Rafael Benitez: “We had plenty of very clear chances and in the end it was easy. After what happened in midweek against Chelsea, that was the perfect response. We had confidence and we were always in control. The first goal was very important, it opened the game up and we were able score more because we had more space. Torres‘ goals were special, we did not have Steven Gerrard but we known we can rely on our other top players. This was Fernando’s day to show that.”

Sam Allardyce: “They are certainly capable of winning the title, even if Manchester United have a game in hand. If Liverpool keep playing like that and continue with that pace and confidence, it is possible they can win it. There will be a lot of twists and turns yet and they certainly believe they can do it.”

Middlesbrough 3-1 Hull City

Gareth Southgate: “I thought our work ethic was brilliant today. We had to be men, we had to stand up and answer some questions that were being posed internally and thrown at us externally. We have give ourselves hope now. We are still in there fighting and you just never know. The reason it was a must-win game was because of the impact it would have on the other teams at the bottom, Hull being one of them.”

Phil Brown: “We asked for a lot but delivered little. We asked for a good start and to get our noses in front but we gifted them a goal and found ourselves on the back foot. We scored a good equaliser but then committed a cardinal sin at a set-piece. They had a free man [Bates] in our six-yard box. We threatened in the second half but with not enough quality and obviously the third goal killed us off. It was not great play by Middlesbrough, but poor play by us.”

Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 West Ham United

Harry Redknapp: “Of course, I want to keep all my best players. He (Roman Pavlyuchenko) has done okay to be fair. He scored some decent goals at home but I feel he is capable of more because he is an excellent player. There is more adjusting to do but technically he is a top-class player. Sometimes he gets brushed off too easily and has to work harder for the team.”

Gianfranco Zola: “Tottenham are one of the six best teams in the country and we played without fear and stood up to them, it could easily have been a point. The only words I can say are words of praise. When Di Michele went through I thought this was the moment. But he is very unlucky right now because he is playing well but is not lucky in front of goal.”

Portsmouth 2-2 West Bromwich Albion

Paul Hart: “You’ve got to give credit to West Brom. Most games from here on in will be difficult – at both ends of the table. Without taking anything away from West Brom maybe they played with a little more freedom because of their situation. But we didn’t go under. We showed resilience and a mental toughness that earned us a point. We didn’t play well today and it would be wrong to say otherwise, but we’ve come out of it with a draw.

Tony Mowbray: “We’ve been here for a long time. We need to win at Manchester City and get on with it. The fans deserve a team that is playing for them right until the death and I think they are getting that. The desire and the commitment of the players is clearly still there.”

Stoke City 1-1 Newcastle United

Tony Pulis: “For two thirds of the game we completely dominated. We had the best chances and were down their throats. If we scored a second after going ahead we would have won it. The last quarter of the match isn’t a fair reflection of the game. Today we did not sit back and wait for Newcastle to come at us we had a go.”

Alan Shearer: “I thought we showed great character to bounce back, equalise and then take the game to Stoke. I told Andy in midweek that he had a big part to play. I also told him he had to show hunger and desire – he did and then got a point for us by scoring.”