STOKE City boss Mark Hughes offered little sympathy to opposing manager and former team-mate Gus Poyet in the wake of Wes Brown’s sending off at the Britannia.
Replays clearly showed that Sunderland defender Brown won the ball cleanly in a challenge on Charlie Adam, but Hughes himself reckoned that referee Kevin Friend – criticised from all directions after the game – might have had a case for reaching for the red.
“I’m sure Gus was very aggrieved about it,” he sniffed. “But my interpretation was that maybe Wes was a little bit out of control and reckless.
“I thought it was a poor challenge – Charlie Adam was caught on the leg at about shin level by it.
“I don’t know what was going on in the technical areas afterwards. I think it all kicked off, but my concern was to see Charlie was alright because I thought he had been caught.”
Hughes professed to be miffed by the controversy, claiming it distracted attention from his team’s excellent performance, though that claim seemed to be pushing it a bit.
“The sending off has caused a big debate, which is a shame because I think it takes away from what was a good performance from us,” he said after the Potters secured a first win in nine Premier League matches.
“Even before the sending off though, we were 1-0 up and I felt we were in control of the game.
“Sunderland might have looked good in the second-half but they were down to 10 men and had nothing to lose and could just go for it.
“But we played well and scored two good goals.
“We are pleased with them – two great finishes from Steven and Charlie – and pleased with the way we played.”
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