Chris Coleman frustrated as Eden Hazard ballboy incident takes shine off big win for Swansea
Last Updated: January 24, 2013 2:53pm
Chris Coleman said Eden Hazard's spat with a ballboy will steal some much-deserved headlines from Swansea City.
Michael Laudrup's side secured a remarkable two-legged victory over Chelsea to secure a place in the Capital One Cup Final against Bradford, but the back pages are dominated by the sending off of Hazard for kicking out at a Swansea youngster, who was taking his time in returning the ball for a goal kick.
The Belgian has since apologised for his actions, but Wales manager Coleman expressed frustration that the incident has overshadowed a famous night for his former club.
He said Hazard deserves to be criticised for lashing out, but says Charlie Morgan, the youngster in question, should not have tried to slow the game down so deliberately.
He said: "There's two things; you cannot do what the ballboy was doing and lie on the ball for starters.
"But, in saying that, Hazard cannot give that reaction. He kicks the ball out and it's just frustration from him. You can't do that as a player.
"The ballboy was lying on the ball and I can't say I've ever seen that, but the reaction from Hazard is not the right one and the referee had no option in the end.
"You can't react like that and Hazard will look back on it and be disappointed. I'm not saying Chelsea would have gone through anyway because it looked like Swansea's night, but unfortunately we're going to be talking about this incident when we should be talking about all the positives from Swansea City and two great cup ties.
"Unfortunately, football players and football sometimes hits the headlines for all the wrong reasons, whether we like it or not. Sometimes it's warranted and there will be bad headlines tomorrow for something Hazard should not have done.
"He'll know that himself; it's a bad reaction, as simple as that."
Fellow Sky Sports pundit Glenn Hoddle said home teams will often instruct their ballboys to use delaying tactics when winning - and try to keep the game alive when losing.
And, while he condoned Hazard's actions, he said it was clear throughout the evening that Swansea had instructed their staff to slow the game down.
Hoddle said: "About 10 minutes before a ballboy went very slowly to the ball. The goalkeeper was coming out to take a goal kick and he rolled the ball very slowly.
"Mark my words, the ballboys will have been told to do that. You can see Frank Lampard talking to the referee and pointing to his watch, so the Chelsea players were aware of it.
"Unfortunately we're going to be talking about this incident when we should be talking about all the positives from Swansea City and two great cup ties."
"The ball went off and the ballboy let the ball go past. He was taking his time, Hazard was thinking about getting the ball back quickly and the young lad fell on the ball.
"As a management team, in European games I know for a fact that you will tell the people that are instructing the ballboys that if you're winning the game, don't get the ball back quickly - and if you're losing the game you want the ballboys on the ball.
"That's your home advantage, if you like. It's like when teams have a long throw, the home teams will use a towel - and they wouldn't give it to the away team.
"It happens in football."