Suarez ‘flip’ no huge surprise, claims McNulty

Sports psychologist and former Armagh footballer Enda McNulty says it was predictable that Luis Suarez would become embroiled in another biting controversy.

Suarez ‘flip’ no huge surprise, claims McNulty

For the third time in four years, the Uruguayan finds himself in hot water over his chompers after his clash with Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini.

The incident stunned millions worldwide but not McNulty.

“I think it was predictable,” he said.

“If you want to predict future behaviour look at past behaviour. There was a very clear understanding and linkage between what he’s done in the past and what he did last night. It’s very unfortunate; I think it’s an awful pity.”

McNulty said the latest controversy is disappointing, given how well behaved the striker has been over the last 12 months.

“He’s done incredibly well this season, especially for Liverpool,” he told RTÉ. “I think he’d tidied up his copybook a little bit in terms of his behaviour, in terms of his demeanour, in terms of his attitude. He was incredibly strong this year for Liverpool and started the World Cup very well against England.”

McNulty believes Suarez’s actions were prompted by the extreme tension of the occasion.

At the time of the incident Uruguay were drawing 0-0 with Italy and looked to be heading for an early World Cup exit.

“This is spontaneous, it wasn’t thought about. It was a natural, instinctive reaction,” He said. “He got hugely frustrated and when he got hugely frustrated, he flipped. And when he flipped, he very quickly bit.

“Unfortunately, we can’t say logically what happened here. This doesn’t happen from the logical side of his brain. This is very much happening from the side of the brain that Steve Peters, the sports psychologist that works with Liverpool team, refers to as the part of the brain that controls the chimp, that very naturalistic side of the brain that unfortunately we can’t control as well, especially under major, major pressure.”

McNulty feels Suarez will need “significant counselling” in the weeks and months ahead and expects Peters to play a key role.

“He’ll need significant counselling over the next 12 months, no matter what happens here. No matter what his defence is and no matter what duration his suspension is.

“Counselling, if he stays at Liverpool, will be done by Steve Peters. Will Brendan Rodgers call up Steve Peters and make sure he’s in touch with Suarez at this early stage? He’s going to need help and assistance even in the next few weeks, with how he handles this huge media storm that’s now been created.

“He’s going to get a suspension, I think that’s very, very clear. He’s going to need very significant help and support in the next 12 months in that almost rehabilitation process.”

Suarez, McNulty says, will need to change.

“He’s going to have to significantly change his attitude. He’s going to have to become more composed and calm under pressure. That takes a lot of training, that will take a lot of counselling, it will take a lot of mental training.”

Meanwhile, former Liverpool star and Sky Sports pundit Phil Thompson has condemned Suarez and said selling him now is the club’s best option.

“I was devastated when I saw the pictures, I was thinking: ‘Please don’t let this be happening again’,” Thompson said.

“He is playing for my football club and he’s brought embarrassment, he’s brought shame on the football club again.

“He wanted a move last summer but the club stood strong and assured him we could achieve success together,” Thompson added.

“He was a fantastic player for all the right reasons, which is why I feel he’s let us down. Will Barcelona and Real Madrid still want him with all this baggage? I think they’ll still covet him and I think that would be a good get-out for Liverpool.”

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