Neville criticises Torres sending-off

Gary Neville was scathing in his criticism of referee Mark Clattenburg for the latter's performance in Manchester United's 3-2 win over Chelsea.

And that's his second yellow....

By Staff

After Ramires' header had hauled the Blues back level from a 2-0 deficit at Stamford Bridge, the game looked to be set for a riveting finale before a slew of questionable decisions from Clattenburg reduced Chelsea to nine-men and took the excitement out of the game.

United striker Javier Hernandez then turned in a cross from Rafael to hand his side all three points and reduce the gap with Chelsea at the top to just a point. 

The controversy began when the official sent off Branislav Ivanovic for a foul on Ashley Young when the winger was through on goal. That decision raised some eyebrows although the consensus seemed to be that the Serbian's red card was deserved albeit a tad unfortunate.

And whatever little hope Chelsea might have had of getting something out of the game were doused when Fernando Torres, having already been booked in the first-half, was shown a second yellow for perceived diving. To add salt into Chelsea's wounds, Hernandez was half a yard offside when Rafael's cross came in.

Speaking on Sky Sports' Super Sunday after the match, Neville agreed with the Ivanovic decision, but laid into Clattenburg for meting out the same treatment to Torres.

"We have seen different types of dives today [Sunday]. Even if Torres doesn't get clipped I think he is entitled to go down," said the former United defender.

"He had Johnny Evans, 6ft 1in, coming towards him with an aggressive tackle, I think Torres may be thinking he has to get his leg out of the way and go down because Evans is going to do him.

"Referees are getting themselves in a mess on this because everyone is talking about diving. There are different types of diving.

"He may be able to stay on his feet there but you can't say that was a yellow card. That is not a yellow card."

Torres' first booking had come thanks to a horrific challenge on Tom Cleverley in the first half - one for which he might have been sent off on another day. However, Neville did not thank that justified the second booking.

"Two wrongs don't make a right. I think that the referee got the first one wrong and he got the second one wrong.

"He got both wrong and it is not good for the referee either way. The first one could have been a red card and the second one was not a yellow.

"The first one in any shape or form is seen as violent or dangerous play. It was a nearly neck-high challenge.

"The referees are getting in mess about this issue because the public are saying they are all cheats. They are not cheats. At times they might be anticipating a challenge.

"Sometimes there are cheats, sometimes there are bad dives. It is an impossible and good luck to them, they take it on."

The 37-year-old was more forgiving of the linesman who failed to spot Hernandez in an offside position.

"There are offside decisions which are tough to give and there are ones that are easy to give.

"I think that is a really difficult one because Hernandez is coming back onside. He gets it wrong the linesman.

"There are that many bodies that he can hardly see and make a decision. I have got some sympathy with the linesman for that one even though he got it wrong and he is offside."

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