Kelly - Red harsh on Taylor

Blues defender backing team-mate over Eduardo challenge

Taylor: Kelly support

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Stephen Kelly has defended Martin Taylor over the challenge which left Eduardo da Silva with a badly broken leg.

"It was harsh Tiny (Taylor) being sent off. Tiny has gone in and it wasn't a malicious tackle and the reason the ref has sent him off is because he has seen Eduardo has broken his leg."

Stephen Kelly.

Quotes of the week

Arsenal's Croatia international striker suffered a double compound fracture of his left leg in the tackle by the Birmingham centre-back in the third minute of the Premier League clash at St Andrews.

Eduardo, who has already undergone surgery, has been ruled out of the remainder of the season and the Euro 2008 finals this summer.

Taylor was issued with an immediate red card by referee Mike Dean, but Blues team-mate Kelly feels the official was influenced by the horrific injury sustained by Eduardo.

Nice bloke

He said: "It was harsh Tiny (Taylor) being sent off. Tiny has gone in and it wasn't a malicious tackle and the reason the ref has sent him off is because he has seen Eduardo has broken his leg.

"I don't think you can send a player off for that. That's football. It can happen. It is an accident. Tiny didn't go in two-footed. He didn't lunge. He didn't dive in.

"Everyone knows what Tiny is like. He is such a nice bloke. He has not got a malicious bone in his body so it was very harsh for the ref to see the broken leg and then send him off because of that.

"It is a terrible thing to happen and you wouldn't want it to happen to anybody but I don't think that warrants a sending-off. People can do that with just falling over. Tiny has committed himself. He has gone in with one foot, slid along the ground."

Harsh

After the match, Arsene Wenger claimed Taylor should be banned from football for life, but he has since issued a retraction, saying his initial comments were made in the heat of the moment.

Kelly added: "I think Mr Wenger's comments after the game were so harsh. That is disgraceful talk from Arsene Wenger. It is terrible. You know the way Martin is. He slid along the ground.

"He has gone in with one foot. You see players going in week in and week out, diving in with two feet, and lunging and that sort of thing is a disgraceful challenge.

"It is a terrible thing for Wenger to say, especially about someone like Martin."