Wigan chairman defends McManaman challenge
The young attacker appeared to catch his opponent with a clumsy tackle, for which he was not punished.
Haidara was stretchered from the pitch after the incident with suspected knee-ligament damage.
Latics boss Roberto Martinez said that McManaman’s actions were not malicious, whilst referee Mark Halsey had his view of the offence blocked.
But, Whelan feels that the youngster didn’t even commit a foul, insisting his player got the ball:
“I was watching the match and the referee was only 15 to 10 yards away, the ball came down between the two players, they both went for it. Our lad got the ball, no question he got the ball, but they collided – the still pictures look like he has gone for the player and gone over it, but he didn’t, he got the ball.” He told Sky Sports.
“The referee was only 10 yards away and didn’t even give the foul – it was a fair challenge.”
Whelan, who saw his footballing career ended by a reckless challenge during the 1960 FA Cup final, believes that such clashes are just an unfortunate part of the sport:
“I got the ball but we collided and I broke my leg – and these accidents do happen. It was an accident when we went for the ball and in football you are allowed to go for the ball.”
It’s unclear as to whether the FA will take a strong stance on the incident, but they could do so in order to reduce the risk of injury to players in the future.
Whelan is adamant that McManaman should not be charged, but says that he will not fight their decision:
“It sends out the right message, the message is this; you play football and the ball bounces you are entitled to go and win it, kick it or get the ball as long as you go for the ball and it is not too high and this was only 14 inches off the ground – now that is playable,
“We will accept it as the FA look at things carefully, but they won’t stop the pictures like the press do.”