Wigan chairman Dave Whelan defends McManaman tackle

 

Wigan chairman Dave Whelan says Callum McManaman's challenge on Newcastle's Massadio Haidara was not reckless.

Haidara has suspected knee ligament damage following the studs-up challenge by the English forward.

It wasn't a reckless foul - Whelan

"The ball was there and McManaman got the ball as clean as a whistle, then followed through and they collided," Whelan told BBC Sport.

The Latics player is set to receive at least a three-match ban for the tackle in the Wigan's 2-1 win over Newcastle.

"He hasn't gone over the ball. That's an accident," added Whelan.

"From Wigan Athletic we want to say to that lad we hope he's fit to play next week or a fortnight because we don't wish ill on any of the opponents we play against. Football being football it is a tough game and these accidents do happen."

The Latics chief continued: "I think the ball was in between them, they've both gone for it fairly and the follow through is where the collision is.

"You can't just drop your foot or stop, they are both going at each other at 18 or 20mph and they collide. It happens."

The Wigan chairman had his leg broken in the 1960 FA Cup final while playing for Blackburn and the injury cut short his career.

"When I broke my leg in the cup final it was exactly the same type of tackle," he said.

"We both went for the ball. It brought back memories. It ruined my career. I am not going to criticise Norman Deeley.

"These things happen in football. He came over the ball but he didn't do it with the aim of breaking my leg."

McManaman, 21, who was making his first start in the Premier League, got a slight touch of the ball before following through and catching the defender on the knee and thigh. Haidara received lengthy treatment before being carried off on a stretcher.

The Football Association is set to take retrospective action as referee Mark Halsey did not see the incident, paving the way for them to step in.

McManaman tackle sparks angry fracas

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew's frustration was compounded when Maynor Figueroa appeared to handle in the build-up to Arouna Kone's 90th-minute winner for Wigan.

"It was an awful tackle. I have got a boy going to hospital and that's a worse feeling than losing," said Pardew.

"It looks like knee ligaments and he's got terrible bruising on his leg as well."

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez admitted it was a bad challenge but also defended McManaman after the game.

"If the opposing player has a bad injury, as a club we will contact the player," added Martinez.

"I can guarantee that it is part of his enthusiasm and trying to fight for every ball. Maybe it's just a striker's tackle.

"I believe it is a bad challenge but it's not malicious."