Winterburn backs Arsenal captain Fabregas in misconduct claims

Arsenal legend Nigel Winterburn has played down Everton manager David Moyes’ claims of misconduct by Gunners captain Cesc Fabregas as ’sour grapes’.

Talking exclusively to A Different League, Winterburn said: “We’re not privy to what was alleged to have been said and we’re listening to it second hand from David Moyes. After you’ve lost a game, it can sound a bit like sour grapes. If Cesc has said some of the things Moyes claims, then the referee has the power to book or send him off, but the referee chose to do neither.”

Photo: OnEdition

Arsenal were incensed when Louis Saha’s opening goal for The Toffees was not ruled out for offside, despite both managers after the game conceding that the Frenchman was clearly offside. Arsenal went on to win the game 2-1 thanks to goals by Andrey Arshavin and Laurent Koscielny, but Moyes claimed that the flow of the game was changed when Fabregas used “disappointing comments from someone who is such a talented footballer” in the tunnel at half-time when Everton were leading 1.0, claiming that the 24-year-old’s comments were worthy of a red card.

Gunners manager Arsene Wenger rejected Moyes’ claims, and no action has been taken by The FA against Fabregas as referee Lee Mason did not suggest any wrongdoing by Fabregas in his match report. Wenger claimed that Fabregas has been subject of a witch-hunt, and also criticised Moyes coming out with the claims, saying it is etiquette among managers to not repeat what is said in the heat of the moment: “I believe that it is wrong for Moyes to come out on what he pretends to have heard in the tunnel. If I come out with what I have heard in the tunnel in the last 10 years, you would be amazed. I think there is a rule in our job to never come out with what is said in the heat of the moment. That usually is respected by everybody.”

Winterburn told A Different League that as a player it can be difficult to control your emotions during a game. “I know that as a player it can be hard to control your emotions, but you’ve got to try and keep yourself under control. I know that’s difficult as a player, but Cesc is the captain.

“If he has said something that is out of order, and people have started to scrutinize him over the last couple of weeks, then I’m sure a word from Arsene Wenger to tell him to keep himself under control, you’re allowed to talk to the referee but make sure you do it in the right way, then I think that will be the end of it but now people will scrutinize Cesc over the next few weeks.”

Fabregas is no stranger to controversy, most recently coming under fire for allegedly verbally abusing Huddersfield Town players who asked for his shirt after their FA Cup Fourth Round tie.

Winterburn was speaking at an event at the Emirates Stadium to publicise the Fred Perry Urban Cup, an initiative that has seen the 20 Premier League clubs link with regional table tennis community clubs to encourage and inspire youngsters to get involved in table tennis.

Fred Perry and the Premier League 4 Sport programme have teamed up to give 100,000 kids across the country the chance to play table tennis representing their football club. The Fred Perry Urban Cup finals are this Saturday.

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