Fri, Aug 25, 2006 - Page 24 News List

Redknapp wants FA to probe horror tackle

AFP , MANCHESTER, ENGLAND

Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp has demanded FA (Football Association) action against Ben Thatcher after the Manchester City full-back left Portuguese midfielder Pedro Mendes hospitalized following a thuggish forearm to the face during a goalless draw at Eastlands on Wednesday.

Former Wales defender Thatcher left Mendes unconscious on the touchline after the incident three minutes into the second-half, but he incredibly escaped with just a booking from referee Dermot Gallagher.

With Mendes suffering a seizure before being transferred to hospital, Redknapp insisted that the FA must now act to ensure Thatcher is hit with stiffer punishment.

"I know the referee has taken action by booking Thatcher, but the FA have got to look at it again," Redknapp said. "When I saw Thatcher running towards Pedro, I knew exactly what was going to happen five seconds before it did and I would have bet my life on it."

"Off the field, you couldn't meet a nicer guy than Ben, but he then goes onto a football pitch and does a horrendous challenge like that," Redknapp added. "How can it be a yellow and not be a red card? Do you have to kill somebody these days to get a red card?"

"Pedro had a fit on the touchline and had to be given oxygen before he went to hospital, so we still don't know how serious the injury actually is," he said.

City manager Stuart Pearce attempted to defend Thatcher, who served a suspension for elbowing six years ago following a similarly vicious foul on Sunderland's Nicky Summerbee.

Pearce said: "Ben was going at 110mph, running into the corner flag area and he mis-timed his tackle. I want my players to play with a high tempo, but I have only seen the incident once and I believe that it was a mis-timed challenge."

"If any action has to be taken, then I'm sure that will come from elsewhere. My opinion is that is was an accidental challenge and I hope that is seen to be the case," he said.

Aside from the Thatcher-Mendes clash, the game lacked incident and neither side showed enough to warrant a victory.

Matt Taylor was the closest to breaking the deadlock when his 68th minute strike from close range was saved well by Manchester City goalkeeper Nicky Weaver.

Pearce added: "It was a bit of a scrap, but I'm pleased that we didn't concede and I felt that goalkeeper Weaver and our two center-halves were outstanding."

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