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Tuesday 12 December 2017

O’Neill in robust defence of Meyler

SUNDERLAND boss Martin O’Neill has defended his Irish midfielder David Meyler over the red card row during Saturday's Premier League clash with Stoke City.

Stoke’s Robert Huth was dismissed for a challenge on Cork lad Meyler but Huth’s manager Tony Pulis was critical of Meyler's role in the incident, alleging that Meyler was play-acting.

But today O’Neill has come out in defence of the former Cork City man.

“I thought at the time it was a red and I watched the incident back again on Sunday,” O’Neill said.

“It was a poor challenge and given the conditions, the referee had very little alternative.

“While Tony’s point about players in general has merit, David Meyler is absolutely and utterly not one of them.

“This young lad has had an injury-stricken career and naturally was doing his utmost to avoid the challenge. He was still caught though.”

Asked if he had spoken to Pulis in the wake of his post-match comments, O’Neill replied: “I was talking to Tony afterwards and I knew what he was going to do. That’s fine, that’s totally his prerogative.

“But in this instance I will stick up for my player. If I thought any of my own players were out of order, I would like to think I would be able to come here and honestly give that assessment, but not in this case.”

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