Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Rival Bosses Leap to Nolan's Defence

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Rival Bosses Leap to Nolan's Defence

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner

Newcastle United 0

Everton 0

KEVIN Nolan is now officially the worst behaved player in the Premier League. But after picking up the first red card of his Newcastle United career in yesterday's 0-0 draw with Everton, both managers were at pains to point out he is no by means its dirtiest.

The January signing is facing a three match ban after being dismissed for a tackle on Victor Anichebe. The challenge was two-footed, crude and deserving of the punishment it received. While neither Chris Hughton nor David Moyes disputed that, they both defended the Merseysider's character, however.

"It's a disappointment to lose him because he's a good player," said United's caretaker manager Hughton. "But I didn't think there was any intent or malice.

Kevin's apologised to the lad and to David Moyes.

"Kevin's a competitive player, as are players like Nicky Butt and Steven Taylor.

You expect them to perform competitively.

But there was no malice in the challenge.

"He's a very honest professional. We accept it wasn't the best challenge, but my impression is it was poorly-timed."

Moyes took a similar view of the 44thminute incident. "It was a sending off and a bad tackle," he commented. "I've not known Kevin to be that type of player but it was undoubtedly a red card."

Only Marouane Fellaini, who picked up a yellow card for dissent yesterday, has more Premier League bookings than Nolan's ten this season. But despite trying his best by repeatedly moaning at referee Lee Mason after his caution, he is yet to be sent off this term.

Nolan will pay a high price for his misdemeanour. The midfielder will be suspended for next week's trip to his former club Bolton, and the visit of title favourites Manchester United.

He will also sit out the game against Hull City.

Despite leaving them at a numerical disadvantage for the majority of the game, Nolan's dismissal galvanised his team more than Everton.

The Toffees dominated the first half but rarely tested Newcastle goalkeeper Steve Harper during the second period. …

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