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Marcotti's Musings
By ESPN Staff

Redknapp fury over Thatcher challenge

Harry Redknapp has called on the Football Association to take action against Ben Thatcher for the horror challenge which left Pedro Mendes in hospital.

Thatcher has been condemned from all quarters for the forearm challenge that sent Mendes crashing into the advertising hoardings during the second half of Manchester City's goalless draw with Portsmouth at Eastlands.

After being knocked unconscious, the former Tottenham star suffered a partial fit by the side of the pitch and required oxygen on his way to hospital.

Match of the Day pundit Mark Lawrenson labelled the challenge 'indefensible', with Gary Lineker claiming it to be 'shockingly dangerous'. Yet referee Dermot Gallagher only produced a yellow card.

Under strict FA guidelines, Thatcher should escape further sanction.

However, given the seriousness of the tackle, and the injuries Mendes sustained, Redknapp feels the FA must step in.

'The FA have to do something,' stormed the Portsmouth manager. 'It is there for all to see.

'I do not want to see anyone suspended but how could that possibly not be a red card? What do you have to do to get a red, kill someone?

'I like Ben. Off the field, you could not wish to meet a nicer lad. But, unfortunately, on it, he does things like that.

'As soon as I saw him running towards the ball I knew exactly what was going to happen. I would have bet my life on it.'

It is not the first time Thatcher has been in trouble this season.

On the Blues' pre-season tour of China, the former Tottenham was sent off against Shanghai for two bookable offences, but not before putting an opponent in hospital with a punctured lung after a similar challenge to Wednesday night's, which also went unseen by the referee.

Without the benefit of a replay, Pearce opted not to offer an opinion on Thatcher's conduct, claiming the full-back had inquired about Mendes' health after the game.

'I certainly hope it was an accident,' he added.

Pearce also revealed he had given skipper Sylvain Distin until tonight to decide whether he wants to take up the offer of a move to Middlesbrough.

'So far Sylvain has not been able to agree personal terms with Middlesbrough,' said Pearce.

'If the situation is still the same tomorrow evening, then he will not be leaving because I will physically not have enough time to bring someone else in.

'I have spoken to him about the situation and I believe he wants to stay with us.'