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Football

Opinion: Pardew wins the mind games

Thursday 8th March 2012
After a 1-1 draw which left Newcastle berating missed chances and Sunderland Manager Martin O'Neill cursing the failure of his wind up tactics, only one manager emerged with an advantage over the other and that was Alan Pardew.

Some may argue Pardew's actions on the touchline were over the top, but O'Neill acted the very same way and people have called him "passionate".

After the game, Pardew openly accepted that referee Mike Dean was 100% correct to award Sunderland a penalty, which he was. He barely even mentioned Sunderland aside from criticising Lee Cattermole who should have seen red after 30 seconds. It would have been easy to continually mention it as O'Neill has with Cheick Tiote, but Pardew has restrained. In reality I'd rather Pardew not mention it at all.

O'Neill, on the other hand, decided to tell the press that Newcastle had been to see the referees at Half Time, which was a downright lie according to local journalists. In addition the former Celtic boss also made a stupid comment suggesting that he would enjoy the derby if both sides are in the league next year. With Newcastle in 6th and Sunderland in good form, it's a daft statement to make.

Since the derby, Pardew's only mention of the game has been to praise Shola Ameobi and Mike Williamson. O'Neill however has taken the petulant route and decided to blame Mr. Dean, who got every major decision correct. He insisted that Tiote should have been dismissed, a ludicrous claim considering Tiote was culpable for several niggling fouls, which were worthy of a yellow at most.

O'Neill then suggested Sunderland did not play dirty in spite of Cattermole's vicious two footed lunge on Tiote. His chosen defence for that particular tackle was that Sunderland did not put in another foul for most of the half, clearly forgetting about Sebastian Larsson's scything challenge on Davide Santon minutes after Cattermole's ugly tackle.

Steve Bruce became a laughing stock in Newcastle circles because of his fixation with "revenge" and "finishing above Newcastle." If O'Neill goes down the same route, then he will quickly end up with a similar reputation. With Sunderland  struggling to handle derby day pressure and to keep 11 men on the field, O'Neill's comments were far from clever.
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