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Boro's fate is all but sealed

Middlesbrough
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Pardew: Coloccini is not a coward

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has leapt to the defence of Fabricio Coloccini, who was branded a coward after Sunday's 1-1 draw with Liverpool.

• Blog: Anfield woes end
• Blog: Missed opportunities
• Jolly: Reds reliant on Suarez

Coloccini was sent-off for lunging in on Liverpool goalscorer Luis Suarez, leaving Pardew's team to battle out the remainder of the match with 10 men. Sky TV pundit Chris Coleman was scathing in his assessment of the incident, which he viewed as "a coward's challenge".

"It's a scandalous challenge, a coward's challenge. Football is a physical game, but that was a coward's challenge. If he catches him higher it's serious," said Coleman.

Pardew, whose side took the lead through Yohan Cabaye on the stroke of half-time, aimed to protect his skipper's reputation following the match, but Newcastle have since confirmed that they will not appealing against the decision to send off their captain.

"I've got no reaction to Chris Coleman's comments," insisted Pardew. "Part of me is thinking that there's no intent from 'Colo' because I know what he's like and he's a real, real top guy.

"At the time I didn't see it so I was really unsure. I know he's got no intent with it. The referee said it was dangerous intent and looking at it, it doesn't look too well from one angle.

"But from another, it looks like he's stopping himself to some extent. I think we'll just have to accept it and my gut feeling is we won't appeal."

Pardew's Liverpool counterpart Brendan Rodgers believes Coloccini dived in out of frustration, hailing the ability of striker Suarez to torment opposition defenders.

"He was unplayable," said Rodgers. "I think Coloccini was frustrated. He couldn't get near him, and he's a good player.

"Luis is just so bright and so clever. He's a real world-class striker. He really frustrates defenders. His goal was brilliant. He's an absolute joy to work with and he's got a real hunger for the game."

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