Alan Pardew denied claims by Martin O’Neill that Newcastle tried to influence referee Mike Dean as the spoils were shared in a bad-tempered Tyne Wear derby.
Sunderland manager O’Neill suggested a delegation of backroom staff from the hosts had visited the officials’ room at half-time, an accusation flatly denied by his counterpart, who saw Shola Ameobi’s injury-time goal cancel out a disputed first-half penalty from Nicklas Bendtner.
“It’s completely untrue, none of our staff was allowed in the officials’ room,” insisted Pardew, whose goalkeeping coach Andy Woodman was ordered to the stands for a confrontation with Sunderland fitness coach Jim Henry in the tunnel at half-time. The Newcastle manager added: “I’ve heard the rumour about one of our staff going to the referee, but it’s not right.”
O’Neill saw things somewhat differently, having been filled in on events by Lee Cattermole, his skipper who earned a post-match red card for abusing Mike Dean, the referee, who confirmed afterwards that no-one had visited his room at half-time.
“Lee was sent off for foul and abusive language against the referee,” O’Neill said. “You can’t be doing that kind of thing, but in mitigation, we’d heard some of their staff visited the referee’s changing room at half-time.
“Though we’re not party to what was said, Lee felt a lot of decisions had gone Newcastle’s way in the second half as a result. It’s unfair of me to make a judgment on what was said. If the referee allows someone to come in and speak to him that’s his prerogative. I don’t know what the rules are.”
A feisty encounter saw two red cards and eight yellow and a 21-man free-for all sparked by James McClean’s first-half challenge on Danny Simpson. The 146th Tyne-Wear derby was played out to a backdrop of mounting bad blood between the rival benches, Pardew openly confronting O’Neill to celebrate in the wake of Newcastle’s late penalty award, which saw Demba Ba’s effort saved by Simon Mignolet.
The Newcastle manager was in rather more conciliatory mood afterwards, adding: “I saw that on the TV and it looks terrible, but it was just relief. It shows that the pressure can get to even experienced managers like me.”
Stephane Sessegnon saw red after the break for raising his arms against Cheik Tiote, though Pardew felt the visitors should have been down to 10 men well before that as Cattermole earned a booking inside 40 seconds for a wild lunge at the African midfielder.
Pardew was keen to smooth the waters over a post-match glass of wine, but O’Neill declined the invitation.
The Newcastle manager added: “I’d hoped he come back in and have a glass of wine, but I hear he’s gone.”
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