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LIVE: Tottenham eye Depay, Ings

Transfer Talk
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By ESPN Staff

Styles penalty excuse 'rubbish', insists Unsworth

David Unsworth has accused referee Rob Styles of making excuses for the error that marred Sheffield United's return to the Premiership.

Captain Chris Morgan was adjudged by Styles to have clipped Steven Gerrard in the penalty area, resulting in Liverpool's equaliser in the 1-1 draw at Bramall Lane.

But Styles then opened up a can of worms by claiming players can be penalised for simply intending to foul an opponent, even if there is no contact.

Veteran defender Unsworth has described Styles' comment as 'a load of rubbish'.

The 32-year-old added: 'He is trying to justify his decision, and I'm not having any of it.'

When asked whether clarification was needed on the issue, the 14-year professional replied: 'I don't think it needs any.

'I just feel he got it wrong, but we all make mistakes. Players do, referees do, and unfortunately his mistake has cost us two points.

'When players make mistakes we learn from it. Hopefully the referee can learn because I don't think many people feel it was a penalty.

'But it's gone, we accept it.'

Assistant manager Stuart McCall, preparing the side for tomorrow's visit to Tottenham with manager Neil Warnock remaining in London following his TV commitments over the weekend, feels with hindsight Styles will have questioned his own judgment.

'When it happened at the time, I could understand why he gave it,' remarked McCall.

'But afterwards when you saw it, and even when you watch it in slow motion, you think there hasn't been contact.

'Looking back, if he is honest, he would probably say there was no way Morgan intended to bring down Gerrard.

'Obviously, there was a great one-two between Gerrard and Fowler, but everyone can see Morgs has gone for the ball.

'Gerrard skipped over him, the ball held up and he got a shot off. As soon as he did that I thought we'd got away with it, but then he has pointed to the spot.

'If you asked Mr Styles now whether he thought Morgan intentionally went to bring down Gerrard, then he would be wrong in saying yes because there was no intent.

'I think we were harshly done by, but then things happen like that.

'We were happy with a point, but now we have to get over it and look ahead to Tottenham.'

Even if the United players and staff feel aggrieved at what unfolded on Saturday, Unsworth believes the confidence gained from holding the Reds will stand them in good stead for the trip to White Hart Lane.

'We have lacked self belief in the past, but Saturday's performance will help,' added Unsworth.

'It's going to take time because a lot of the team are new to this league, so we have to learn, and learn fast.

'Although we are encouraged with the way we battled and our work rate, we know that offensively we can create more.

'Against Spurs we will be looking for the same work ethic, and hopefully the belief and confidence will also continue.

'There is also ability. We've players capable of producing quality displays, but you don't get anything if you don't work hard, are not organised and you haven't a game plan.

'Without those, you could have 11 great individuals, but not achieve anything.'

McCall, meanwhile, fears a backlash from Tottenham's opening day 2-0 defeat at Bolton, with the Scot adamant they will push for honours this season.

'Anybody with the likes of Keane, Defoe, Lennon and Berbatov in the squad are going to score a lot of goals at home,' added McCall

'They've a good squad, while Martin Jol is a terrific manager, and they'll be top six this season.

'They've two home games coming up now and they'll be looking to take six points from them.'

Warnock has a 20-man squad to choose from, with another defender in Craig Short still on the sidelines with a thigh injury.