ROY KEANE has hit out at Premier League bosses who criticise referees week in, week out.
The Ipswich manager, whose side face Reading tonight, emerged as a perhaps unlikely defender of officialdom in the wake of the weekend controversy surrounding Dirk Kuyt’s opening goal for Liverpool against Sunderland at Anfield.
The Black Cats were adamant that referee Stuart Attwell was wrong to rule that Michael Turner had taken the freekick which led to the goal, claiming that the defender was merely playing the ball so keeper Simon Mignolet could take the kick.
Former Ireland skipper Keane says referees and their assistants have the toughest roles in the modern game.
“We talk about managers and players having difficult jobs, but I think officials have the hardest jobs out there because the game is played at such speed, there are so many camera angles and programmes where everyone analyses referees. They have a very tough job.”
Keane, who was at pains to point out that his former Manchester United team-mate and current Sunderland chief Steve Bruce wasn’t his target, says the same bosses are on TV complaining about officials week after week.
“Some managers need to treat referees with more respect. I think the FA’s Respect campaign came in a year ago and I think the managers need to set an example.
“After every game you get managers talking about officials and sometimes I think their team hasn’t performed and they shouldn’t blame the official.
“And most weekends it’s the same managers complaining. I think those managers should look at themselves rather than constantly blaming referees.”
The Tractor Boys boss admits that he has been guilty of being hard on referees in the past but says his viewpoint has changed now that he’s in the dugout.
“I gave them a hard time when I was playing but as a manager I see it differently now. Maybe I did all my complaining when I was a player! Me and my staff try not to go around criticising officials.’’
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