Sunderland boss sees red at N’Zonzi challenge

Jack Rodwell is restrained by Robert Huth

Jack Rodwell is restrained by Robert Huth

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GUS POYET is convinced Steven N’Zonzi should have seen red for the second successive season at the Stadium of Light, but will not seek an explanation from referee Mike Dean.

Stoke midfielder N’Zonzi grabbed Jack Rodwell by the throat in retaliation to a poor tackle from the Sunderland summer signing in last night’s Capital One Cup third round clash.

But Dean opted to issue just a yellow card to each player, rather than dismiss N’Zonzi - who was sent off at the Stadium of Light in January - for violent conduct.

Sunderland boss Poyet felt the incident was clear-cut, but believes it would be fruitless to take the matter further.

Poyet said: “I won’t ask them because I don’t like the answers, I don’t.

“When it’s something everyone agrees on and you don’t get that agreement, I don’t like it. When it’s a way out, an explanation, when it’s a ‘might’, a ‘maybe’, a ‘probably’, a ‘possibly’, I don’t like it.

“That’s one of the things I hate the most nowadays, when people use words to get away from situations.

“If you grab someone around the neck, you grab them around the neck.

“That’s the bottom line and the rules say it’s a red card. The rest doesn’t matter.

“There are no explanations, there are no excuses, it doesn’t matter what happened before or happens after.

“Everybody saw it – I saw it, the referee saw it, the fourth official, you saw it. It’s simple, so why? I am not going to ask. I don’t want ‘mights’, ‘probably’, ‘possibly’, ‘the angle’.”

Opposite number Mark Hughes felt Dean made the right decision in issuing a yellow to both players.

Hughes said: “I thought it was a poor tackle. It’s all about interpretation, but I thought there was a little bit of intent there, which is not really what you want to see.

“Steven reacted because maybe the boy pushed his head towards him and that’s the reason he reacted, so that was unfortunate.

“But I thought Mike Dean was excellent on the night, I thought he dealt with that situation really, really well.

“I thought it would have been harsh on both teams if they both had lost players given the circumstances, but you don’t like to see that.”

Poyet had less complaint over Stoke’s winning goal after Sunderland’s players had appealed for a push on Adam Johnson by Potters left-back Marc Muniesa, before he netted his second of the night.

“It’s up to the referee to give it,” added Poyet.

“For me, it’s simple - one is a 50-50, the Adam Johnson one, I take it. The grabbing around the neck, I don’t.”