• Premier League

Martinez: McManaman not 'nasty'

ESPN staff
March 18, 2013 « Mertesacker hails Arsenal improvement | Chartbeat test »

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez has defended striker Callum McManaman by insisting the player does not have a "nasty bone" in his body as the furore over his horror tackle on Massadio Haidara continues to rage.

McManaman became an instant target for Newcastle United abuse after his ugly two-footed, knee-high tackle forced January signing Haidara to be stretchered off just before half-time in Wigan's 2-1 win on Sunday.

Already incensed by the challenge, Newcastle players, fans and staff were further enraged as McManaman escaped without punishment.

The bubbling tensions erupted at half-time as Newcastle assistant manager John Carver and Wigan coach Graham Barrow were both sent from the sidelines for ugly confrontations between the sides.

Haidara did not reappear for the second half, and was rushed back to Newcastle after the match for further assessment.

An infuriated Newcastle manager Alan Pardew labelled McManaman's tackle an"awful challenge" and hoped it would be punished after the match.

But Martinez believed McManaman would not face any sanctions as the player went into the challenge without malice.

"What you need to look at in those incidents is if there is intention, a nastiness about the tackle. We are not a nasty team," Martinez said. "He has not got a nasty bone and is not bad-intentioned.

"The referee was in a perfect position, he is looking at the incident, where the ball is and where the ball is hitting.

"When you get the ball and then there is a follow-up it is very difficult for a panel to punish that."

Martinez said neither he, McManaman nor the club had yet spoken to Haidara, but made assurances that efforts would be made to check on the Frenchman's condition.

"Callum and Wigan will make sure we contact the player and wish him a speedy recovery," added the Latics boss."You don't want to see it (injuries) on the football pitch but unfortunately it happens.

"We have been on the back end of a broken leg with Ben Watson, James McCarthy has needed an operation on his ankle and Ryo Miyaichi is needing an operation now.

"Callum is just a young striker - unfortunately it was a poor tackle and enthusiasm probably threw him into that position.

"He needs to learn as a striker not to go into those situations."

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