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 Posted by PA Sport
Apr 18, 2014

Gunnarsson backed over ‘spy’ claims

Cardiff manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists the club will defend and support midfielder Aron Gunnarsson after the player was linked to the alleged leak of team details to Crystal Palace.

Aron Gunnarsson battles for possession with Fernandinho.
Aron Gunnarsson has been accused of helping to leak Cardiff's team to Crystal Palace.

Morris: Survival hopes alive

The Bluebirds have lodged an official complaint with the Premier League, claiming that details of their team to take on Palace on April 5 were leaked to officials at the South London club.

The Press Association reports that they have requested that the result of the match -- which finished 3-0 to the Eagles -- be overturned.

Gunnarsson's name had been linked with the investigation into the leak, but he has strongly denied any involvement in the matter.

And Solskjaer insists the player has the club's full support, adding that he will be involved in the squad for Saturday's home game against Stoke, barring injury.

"We will defend his name and reputation to the edge of the cliff, definitely," Solskjaer said. "He will be involved in the squad, definitely. He is there training. He will be involved unless he gets an injury."

Premier League chiefs will decide whether the complaint should be taken forward -- according to reports, there remains uncertainty about whether any regulation would have been breached even if the allegation is proven.

If the complaint is taken forward it could be dealt with by either the Premier League's board or more likely an independent commission.

Cardiff's complaint centres on the circumstances surrounding the alleged leaking of their team.

Palace sporting director Iain Moody worked for the Bluebirds until earlier this season, before taking up a post at Selhurst Park in November.

It has been reported that Cardiff believe Moody might have used his contacts at the Welsh club, or close to it, to find out which players would start against the Eagles.

Moody, though, has rejected the allegations as "incredibly, extraordinarily untrue" and Palace have also denied the claims.

Solskjaer added: "We've had issues internally. We've dealt with it and we've sent a report to the Premier League, and that is the end of the matter for us. We trust the Premier League to deal with whatever is required. The players have dealt with it fantastically. We've had a couple of chats, and that is the end of the matter.

"We've had issues, we deal with it as a club and you move on. You want to try to get past that, of course. You want to become a club that just talks about the football. But we are in a fight to survive, and there is always going to be some noise on and off the pitch.

"I did have a good 'guess-estimate' of Palace's team. That's just football, you do your ground work, you have got your scouts, you analyse them, but we do it the right way.

"To move forward we need to make a few changes. We have made a few changes, and probably more changes. It doesn't have to relate to this [matter]. You come into a new club that has not been yours, and you want to make it yours over time, gradually." 

Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall also launched a strong defence of Gunnarsson.

"The one thing I will say is that Aron would never give somebody, or the opposition manager, or anybody our team lineup to try and help them and go against us," Marshall said.

"He is one of the hardest-working and most honest people I have come across in the game, so I don't know how it has come across that Aron's given it, but I would put my life on it that Aron has not been involved in it.

"In terms of the leak, I think if people are doing that, nine out of 11 you could probably guess every Saturday who is going to be starting the game, but the point is if people within the club are trying to help other teams go against us it's not good enough.

"If the club do have proof of that, it's not a problem, they can follow that up. The club has got every right to pursue it if they feel they have got a case.

"With Aron's situation the last couple of days it has probably brought the team closer. That was one of our main strengths last year, how tight the group was, and even though the things we have gone through this year -- the change of manager, the change of personnel and staff -- it has remained like that." 

Cardiff defender Mark Hudson, meanwhile, took to Twitter to voice his support for his teammate.

Palace boss Tony Pulis was asked at his prematch news conference on Friday if reaching the 40-point mark in the league, following a midweek win at Everton, had been overshadowed by the Cardiff issue.

"No, not at all," he said. "If we have to go up and meet the Premier League, or whoever it is that we have to meet, then we'll do it in the right and proper manner. We won't do it any other way, and I think that is important.

"As a manager and as a coach, I log every session that I do, and I'll be taking those sessions up to the Premier League to show that I picked my team on Monday before we played Cardiff on the Saturday. That team was worked with for a week and there were no changes in it whatsoever."

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