Gus Poyet is worried that the game is going soft after a baffling week of disciplinary decisions from the FA.
First West Ham's Andy Carroll had a ban upheld despite not appearing to strike Swansea's Chico Flores, and pictorial evidence that the referee was not looking at the incident. That was followed up by Cardiff's Craig Bellamy receiving an FA charge on video evidence, whilst Manchester City's Yaya Toure escaped punishment for a similar offence.
A suspension would have mean Toure was unable to face Sunderland tonight, but that hasn't stopped Poyet from blasting the FA over inconsistencies and trying to render the game a non-contact sport.
He told reporters:
I don't like it and I believe that Toure and Bellamy should be playing in the next game because these things happen.
You push each other in the box. Where is it going to finish? We already can't tackle. Beforehand, the best thing in football was seeing a proper tackle. Now you can't do that.
Did Yaya Toure kick the player, yes or no? Yes. That's not difficult to see. Are you telling me he didn't mean it? No. He did. But is it enough for a suspension? Do we really want our players to play in ballet shoes? We're playing football and there should be contact.
Where do you even start with this one?
I can understand Poyet's point of view. To my recollection, the Stadium of Light has never sounded better than after a crunching Kevin Ball tackle, but these days any such a tackles would almost certainly be deemed to endanger an opponent and see the cards come out. That's frustrating.
And, to be honest, I've never really understood the whole 'endangering an opponent' thing. You probably see just as many freak injuries - landing badly on a knee, turning an ankle on a wet pitch, that kind of thing - than you do resulting from players being scythed down by opponents.
It's not like these tackles are not still being made. Every week we hear about how this was reckless and that was out of control and that poor lamb might have got hurt. Yeah, he might get hurt. He might get hurt the next time he jumps for a header. Those are the inherent risks of the game they are paid millions to play. That's sport.
But the offences such as Yaya Toure's - those are the ones I struggle to defend. Intentionally kicking a player who is on the ground? That's nasty. Nothing sporting about that. Nothing commendable or clever about it at all. It's cowardly.
I suppose there could be a culture thing going on though. In South American football, gamesmanship such as winding up your opponant and provoking a reaction is pretty much seen as fair game. So I can understand where Poyet is coming from, and I agree to an extent.
An extent is all it is, though.