Hughes defends Bellamy over clash with fan


Mark Hughes jumped to the defence of Manchester City’s two-goal striker Craig Bellamy after the fiery Welsh star clashed with a fan at Old Trafford this afternoon.

It was claimed Bellamy got involved in an altercation with a spectator who had come onto the pitch as Manchester United recorded an amazing 4-3 victory.

If the allegation is proved, the Blues striker — who has endured plenty of disciplinary trouble in the past — could find himself in trouble, even though it is against the law for supporters to go onto the field of play.

Hughes feels that aspect of the confrontation needs to be taken into account, although he fears it will not be.

“I did not see it but the guy should not have been on the pitch. That is not acceptable,” said the City chief. “I seem to recall Brian Clough clipping someone around the ear and he was lauded as a national hero. Maybe it will be the same case with Craig but I doubt it. I’m sure people will make a nuisance about it.”

Hughes also confirmed substitute Javier Garrido was struck by a coin thrown from the home section of the stadium at half-time.

It seemed the attack was actually aimed at former United hero Carlos Tevez, who was booed throughout by the home faithful.

Thankfully, Garrido was not hurt, although the Football Association are sure to be less than impressed with the two incidents.

“Apparently so,” Hughes confirmed. “Something came from the crowd but he is okay.”

Hughes also took issue with the Old Trafford match officials following the dramatic derby defeat.

Michael Owen scored the winner deep in stoppage-time after Bellamy had pulled the visitors level in the 90th minute.

It was hard for City to take as they were so close to claiming a point and Hughes rounded on referee Martin Atkinson and fourth official Alan Wiley.

Hughes said: “I have not had a word with the referee yet but the the fourth official tried to give me an explanation of sorts as I was questioning the amount of time added on even before the game finished.

“His explanation did not sit comfortably with me. He said a minute plus had been added because of our celebration. We scored on 90 minutes, the board was already up for four minutes, so Mr Wiley said he was going to add that minute on.

“The amount of time from when we scored to when we kicked-off was something like 45 seconds. He has got that wrong as well. It was 95 minutes 26 seconds.

“Obviously he has played too much time and we ended up playing 97 minutes. I just needed an explanation as to why so much time was needed.

“Historically it has happened before. I was in teams here where we always had a little bit of benefit. I never felt it was an issue when we played here.

“But since I have left maybe I have changed my view on that. I am not going to question anyone’s integrity but I do not know where has got seven minutes from. It would be nice to get an explanation but I don’t think I will.”