Robert Snodgrass pulled no punches when asked for his thoughts on Sheffield Wednesday’s key player. Richard Sutcliffe reports.
ROBERT SNODGRASS has urged West Yorkshire referee Bobby Madley to keep a close eye on Fernando Forestieri at Wembley today after accusing the Sheffield Wednesday playmaker of “cheating”.
WATCH Robert Snodgrass interviewed in our video interview above
The Italian was sent off when the Owls last met Hull City in February’s goalless draw at the KC Stadium.
Booked earlier for a foul on Andrew Robertson, Forestieri was dismissed in the final minute after collecting a second yellow card when referee Tim Robinson deemed him to be guilty of simulation when challenged by Michael Dawson.
The red card was the second in as many outings for Wednesday’s top scorer, the first having also come courtesy of a booking for diving against Preston North End seven days earlier.
Wednesday head coach Carlos Carvalhal was left exasperated by both dismissals, saying in the wake of the Hull red card: “Maybe Fernando must break a leg and then he won’t get a yellow card but will be out of the game for four or five months.”
Snodgrass, however, believes the £3m signing from Watford got what he deserved that night for his antics across the whole 90 minutes.
“I would have sent him off in the first half,” the Scot, with no hesitation, told The Yorkshire Post when the conversation turned to Forestieri. “I thought he was terrible for the game.
“It is a contact sport but you don’t want somebody cheating. It is cheating the referee. The referee has a hard enough job as it is.
“I thought he dived about four times in the first half. I think the referee probably had had enough.
“When you look back at the decision to send him off, it was the one where he probably hadn’t (dived). But he killed himself by diving in the first half.
“If (I was his team-mate and) it was blatant the way he was doing it, I would say, ‘Listen, you need to get a grip of yourself’. He let his team down (at Hull) and was sent off. You don’t need to do it.
“The referees are not stupid. You are trying to con them. They are probably saying, ‘It is hard enough as it is, so I don’t need you diving’.”
Forestieri has been Wednesday’s talisman this season since moving north from Watford towards the end of the summer transfer window.
His 15 goals played a big part in Carvalhal’s men finishing sixth, while his trickery and vision have caused untold problems for opposition defences.
Snodgrass, however, believes Forstieri has caught the eye of referees for very different reasons since first moving to England in 2012.
“We had a situation when Howard Webb came into Norwich,” said the Scotland international, who joined Hull from Carrow Road two summers ago. “We asked if they looked at players (who dive) and he said, ‘Yeah, we would look at players who dive a little bit, or if he goes down easily’.
“So, they (referees) do look at it. Every little bit of footage helps them to do their job to the best of their ability. I think he (Forestieri) would be one of the players they would look at.”
Snodgrass spent 15 months out of football after suffering a horrific injury on the opening day of last season.
That dislocated knee means the Scot is more aware than most as to how precarious the life of a footballer can be. It also means he has no truck with players who he believes are guilty of diving.
“It was very tough mentally to digest what happened to me,” admitted the 28-year-old former Leeds United wideman. “I missed a season and a half, and all the Euros games with Scotland. But I feel great now and the last piece of the puzzle is promotion.
“We just missed out on automatic but now we are going to Wembley, which is any young kid’s dream.”
As for today’s Championship showdown, Snodgrass wants the officials to keep a close eye on Forestieri. “I think they will need to,” he added, “especially if that is his reputation and he has been sent off a few times for it.
“It is not good for the game. Especially for people going there to watch a good game, a Yorkshire derby – they don’t want to see it.
“I wouldn’t like to win at Wembley by cheating. I think there are a lot better ways and respectable ways to help your team-mates than that.”