manager Mike Phelan insists Robert Snodgrass will not be affected by the criticism that has come the Hull City top scorer’s way amid the furore that followed his penalty award against Crystal Palace.
The Scottish international won and then converted a 27th-minute spot-kick, but replays showed clearly there had been no contact before the Tigers man crashed to the floor.
Palace manager Alan Pardew felt Snodgrass would be “embarrassed” after watching footage on Match of the Day, while the Scot came in for heavy criticism from a host of pundits over the weekend with calls even being made for retrospective punishment to be introduced for players found guilty of diving.
Snodgrass, for his part, apologised and admitted, “It was never a penalty”. Whether that will be enough to prevent the Hull man becoming a target for both opposition fans and referees remains to be seen, but Phelan has no concerns as to whether his talisman can handle any extra attention.
“Yes, of course he can,” Phelan responded when asked if Snodgrass will cope with the flak.
“I have dealt with football players all my life, some who are blown over by the wind and some who take massive knocks, but do not got penalties. It will be highlighted. That is the job of pundits, the media. But I shouldn’t think that detracts from an excellent performance; a team performance.
“We possibly got lucky in that situation and I am sure Crystal Palace were aggrieved by it.
“But I am not going to argue with my player or say anything that will turn his head or make him feel down about it.
“I need a Robert Snodgrass. He has to get on with his job. He will put up with whatever comes his way. My team, my players and my staff are behind him.”
Hull’s first-half penalty was the big talking point in an engrossing 3-3 draw with Palace. Having latched on to Andrew Robertson’s through ball, Snodgrass was a couple of yards inside the area when Scott Dann slid in to try to block his path.
As he did so, the Tigers playmaker went down and referee Mike Jones immediately pointed to the spot. Replays, however, showed there had been no contact and that Dann had pulled out of the challenge at the last second.
Had Jones realised that then Snodgrass would have been surely shown his second yellow card of the afternoon, having earlier been booked for hauling back Christian Benteke.
An hour or so after the game, Snodgrass tweeted: “Apologies from my end, it was never a penalty. But I genuinely thought the defender was going to slide, so I tried to ride the tackle.”
Expanding on that explanation when speaking to the written media, the Scot said: “You feel as if you need to ride the tackle. Probably, when I look at it, it will maybe look worse. But, from my side, I thought the defender was going to come in and slide.
“That is what I was trying to say to him (Dann). I was just trying to get out of the way of his tackle, but he never tackled, so that is probably why it looks bad.”
Snodgrass was scathing in his criticism of Fernando Forestieri ahead of last May’s play-off final, accusing the Sheffield Wednesday man of “cheating” when the two clubs had met earlier in the season as the Argentinian was sent off for collecting a second yellow card for diving.
Asked amid the furore that followed Saturday’s penalty if he considered himself to be an honest player, Snodgrass replied: “Of course, that is what it is all about.
“I have never been one for going into that position, so that is what I tried to say to the lad. I am not that type of player. I said that to him. But, obviously, emotions are running high, he is thinking, ‘Well, I’ve not touched you’. But I am thinking, ‘Obviously, I’m trying to get out the way’. It is up to the referee to make that sort of decision.”
In the Football League, Yorkshire’s clubs enjoyed mixed fortunes. Huddersfield Town joined Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship play-off places thanks to a 2-1 win at home to Bristol City. The Owls lost 2-1 at Reading.
Elsewhere, Barnsley ended a seven-game winless run at Oakwell with victory over Norwich City and Izzy Brown struck to help Rotherham United beat QPR 1-0 and end a 12-game run that had yielded just a solitary point.
In League One, Sheffield United moved up to second with a 4-0 thrashing of Swindon Town, but Doncaster Rovers were knocked off top spot in League Two by a 2-0 reverse at Plymouth Argyle.
Reports from Premier League to League Two: Pages 2-4.