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Toffees skipper slams officials October 22 2007

Toffees skipper slams officials October 22 2007

Everton captain Phil Neville claims that 'awestruck' match officials will continue to ruin big games in the English Premier League.

The 30-year-old received a red card following a deliberate handball in the Toffees' 18-yard area which resulted in Dirk Kuyt's penalty spot winner for Liverpool in Saturday's Merseyside derby at Goodison Park.

However, the Toffees felt they cheated when two of their penalty appeals were turned down by referee Mark Clattenburg and that Kuyt was not sent off for a lunging tackle on Neville. Meanwhile, under-fire Clattenburg has not been allocated a Premier League game for next weekend.

The former Manchester United defender believes referees are continuing to be influenced by the reputation of big clubs and players following his spell at Old Trafford.

"I have been on the other side of things and you can see that some referees are awestruck when they deal with certain players and certain clubs," Neville told The Liverpool Echo.

"But it's never going to change. It's been happening for 20 or 30 years and, unfortunately, we just have to get on with it.

"To be fair to Dirk Kuyt, he's said it was a bad tackle and he is not a malicious player but the bottom line is that he should have been sent-off.

"We've had instances this season where players have been booked for the most trivial of incidents.

"But when you see a leg-breaking tackle like that one receive the same punishment that's when, as players, you get upset. We just want referees to be consistent.

"Two feet off the ground is a red card. That's why the players, the manager and our supporters feel so let down. This isn't asking for favouritism.

"Games of that magnitude are defined by the smallest percentages and they never went for us on Saturday.

"It's a bitter pill to swallow. I actually thought we played well and we can take pride from our performance."


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