• Premier League, What They Said

Benitez hits out at ref Webb over Ba clash

ESPN staff
February 2, 2013
© Getty Images

Chelsea crashed to a 3-2 defeat at Newcastle and manager Rafael Benitez pointed the finger at referee Howard Webb for failing to award a penalty to his side.

Demba Ba was left with a broken nose after being kicked in the face by Fabricio Coloccini. The incident took place in the box and Benitez felt it should have been a penalty and red card.

He said: "After looking at the replay, the incident with Demba Ba is a red card and a penalty. We have a player with a broken nose and bleeding for a while. It was not given as a penalty. If it is in the middle of the park, the play would carry on and then we would go back and get a free kick. It should be exactly the same in the box.

"Everybody was watching the incident, the player was bleeding off the pitch for five minutes. It is so simple and clear. In the middle of the park it is a yellow card and free kick. In the penalty area it is a penalty and red card as it is a clear chance.

"There are two or things we can argue, but it is a game where again we were doing well. The team was doing well, they put in the effort and it is just a shame."

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew felt his side were deserving of their 3-2, with Moussa Sissoko earning praise for his two goals.

He said: "When you come up against the top teams you have to unsettle them and we did that. We did not give them any time, did not let them get out at the back and I felt we deserved to lead at half time. Second half they came out and were fantastic, their goals were out of the top drawer, but we managed to come back and scored a great goal on the break and Sissoko has signalled his entrance. I saw him 14 months and said I would be delighted if we could get him. He is a fantastic player."

Manchester United extended their lead at the top of the table with a 1-0 win over Fulham and manager Sir Alex Ferguson was delighted with the performance.

"It's an excellent result for us and I'm very pleased with that," Ferguson told MUTV. "They've had a great home record over the years and that's a really important result for us. It's a good position [being ten points clear], we're pleased. It was a fantastic, battling performance. There was a great determination about us. I thought they were really up for it, the players, making sure they weren't going to lose the game.

"This is not an easy place to come to, as everyone knows, and over the years they've been difficult to beat here. It's a good performance, a really good game, an important result... they're all important now. It's three points for each team you play against, it doesn't matter if it's the top, the bottom or the middle, they all count."

Queens Park Rangers were held to a 0-0 draw by Norwich and the performance delighted Harry Redknapp. He said: "I couldn't have asked for any more. They gave absolutely everything today, as they have done all year. We haven't lost a game in the league since the turn of the year. We just need to turn those draws into wins and we didn't have a better opportunity to do that than today. But we're unbeaten since the turn of the year so we've just got to keep going. We got a point on Tuesday, looking to get three today but we've got to keep going. Hopefully our luck will turn."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger saw his side scrap to a 1-0 win over Stoke and he felt anything but victory would have been a huge blow to their hopes of a top-four finish.

"I said already before the West Ham and Liverpool games, that we are in a position where we cannot drop points,'' the Gunners boss said. "We dropped two points against Liverpool but we couldn't do it again today. What is more important is the quality of performances is there. The spirit is there. The target to be in the top four and to focus on the two cups we are still in is very important now as we have strengthened our belief and our confidence.''

Arsenal were frustrated for long spells, but secured the win © Getty Images

Micchael Owen tangled with Mikel Arteta and Stoke boss Tony Pulis felt his striker should not have reacted to the challenge.

"I think Arteta's challenge was a poor challenge, but Michael should not do that,'' he said. "That should be left to the referee. We'll see what they say. Obviously I am going to be biased as it is my football team. I have seen the challenge, I think it poor and should be a free-kick. If Michael has done what he has done and they look at it, then they will deal with it.''

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert admitted his side should have ended their eight-match winless streak at Everton and was disappointed to concede an added-time equaliser.

"I thought we deserved to win the game,'' Lambert said. "You are never going to get an easy game here but it is disappointing to only get a point. It is a really tough place to come and three points would have been great but I thought we played ever so well. I can't fault the way the lads played and there are not many teams that come up here and beat them. David (Moyes) has a really good side but if we continue to play like that hopefully we will start to get results.''

Everton boss David Moyes did not think they deserved to lose but was less-than-impressed by his side's defending.

"I'd like to say I didn't think we should be in that position (3-1 down) but we were because we defended poorly - the defending let us down," Moyes said. "If anyone doesn't think Benteke, (Charles) N'Zogbia and Agbonlahor can't cause you problems then they're wrong and you have to be ready for that. We were ready but we didn't just deal with it that well. I had a strange feeling today we might have to score four goals to win it. I hoped I was going to be wrong but it was the way it panned out but it wasn't for the lack of effort from the players."

Reading boss Brian McDermott was full of praise for Jimmy Kebe after the winger struck late to secure a 2-1 win over Sunderland

"Jimmy Kebe is becoming phenomenal in the air,'' he said. "I was so pleased for him because he such a brave player both physically and mentally. He wants to get on the ball and I think the first goal was fabulous. He wins headers and is good in the air, that was a great finish today. Ian Harte has put it in there and Jimmy has had to finish it off and he was brave. It was late in the game as well so it is difficult to come back at that stage.''

Sunderland slipped to 12th with defeat and conceding late was frustrating to Martin O'Neill.

"Naturally I'm disappointed to concede so late in the game, particularly on the back of a couple of really good chances we had ourselves,'' he said. "I thought Reading started better than us and got a goal in front but we started to come into the game a bit more before we scored the penalty.''

Mauricio Pochettino was left hugely disappointed that he is still chasing a first win as Southampton manager after Wigan snatched a late draw.

He said: "I am frustrated, the same as the rest of the boys, because the team played a great match. The effort that the team put in, they deserved the victory today. It could be two victories and one draw. That's football. Sometimes you have luck and sometimes you don't have luck. But you have to work to produce your own luck.

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez was a relieved man, although his club are now two points from safety after Reading continued their fine run with victory over Sunderland.

He said: "You have to be (relieved) because Southampton got a very good momentum in the second half and when they get the second goal that late in the game it's going to be very difficult not to be affected by dropping points that you felt you had. I was very pleased with the reaction we had, the character and the desire to want to get a positive result, so in that respect I'm very pleased, even though I don't think we performed in the manner we want to or with the fluency we normally have.

Sam Allardyce tipped Andy Carroll to win back his place in the England squad after watching the striker fire West Ham to a vital victory over Swansea.

"He should (get back in),'' the West Ham manager said. "As long as he can stay fit between now and the end of the season, get as many games as he can (he will). There is a lot more to come from Andy. If he produces better performances than he has today, and if he builds his goal tally up, finishes the season on a high, it will be great for us and it will be great for him. At the start of the season it was disappointing for him because of the injuries, but hopefully he can finish the season on a high.''

The defeat means Swansea's seven-match unbeaten run has come to an end, but manager Michael Laudrup was not too downhearted about outcome.

"We dominated quite well in the first half,'' the Dane said. "They gave us more or less what we expected. We had the ball more, but they played direct and we know how good Carroll is in the air. Inside the box he's very dangerous. We could have won 1-0 or it could have been 1-1. After they scored we came back, had a few chances to equalise, but we just have to accept it. We're very difficult to beat. Nobody likes to lose. We're not used to losing after the last seven weeks.''

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