Jonathan Woodgate has defended Cristiano Ronaldo over allegations of diving in the FA Cup quarter-final replay between Middlesbrough and Manchester United.
Woodgate conceded the penalty that the Portuguese winger won and put away to send United into the last four on Monday evening.
Boro boss Gareth Southgate said he was unsure whether the penalty should have been awarded, but Woodgate is convinced Ronaldo did not dive.
He explained: "I don't know if it was a penalty but Ronaldo is a very clever player, one of the best in the world.
"Whether it was a penalty or not I don't know, I couldn't honestly tell myself.
"But I don't think he dived so you can't blame him.
"He's a fantastic player. There is a touch of genius in him and to be fair, he lights up the Premiership."
Woodgate has also urged his Boro team-mates to finish the season in style and try to climb as high in the table as possible.
"The challenge for us is to win as many games as we can," he said.
"We don't want the season to fizzle out on the back of one penalty.
"There's a Uefa Cup spot to go for. If we keep winning we can get it."