ONSIDE: Trust Mark Hughes to Stoke up City anger after Newcastle United win

Onside
Onside

ANYBODY regretting mixing their drinks yet this Christmas?

Then here is another cocktail which rarely works – football managers and microphones.

Take Brendan Rodgers, for instance, after his Liverpool side’s 2-1 defeat at Manchester City on Boxing Day.

Did he criticise his own keeper, Simon Mignolet, for his comical efforts to save Alvaro Negredo’s winner?

Not in the quotes or footage I saw.

No doubt if he was asked about the goal then he would have trotted out the line: “Simon has saved us so many times this season.”

Just as referees and their assistants get it right most of the time.

Yet that didn’t stop Rodgers questioning Bolton referee Lee Mason’s integrity for choosing to be born in Greater Manchester.

That’s the same Lee Mason who spent three years studying for his degree in, you’ve guessed it, Liverpool.

And so to the serial whinger and managerial butterfly that is current Stoke City boss Mark Hughes.

Admittedly two decisions went against his side, so impressive when they had 11 men on the pitch, in yesterday’s 5-1 mauling at Newcastle United.

Yet Mike Williamson’s handball some 20 seconds before the Magpies’ equaliser and the officials’ failure to award a goal kick in the build-up to Yoan Gouffran’s winner both came after Hughes’s side had been rightly reduced to nine players.

Had the two decisions gone a depleted Stoke’s way then they still would have lost.

Had Glenn Whelan and Marc Wilson stayed on the pitch in the first place then the outcome could have ended differently.

Hughes, of course, certainly saw the sending offs differently, using words like “innocuous” and “harsh” that all managers trot out when they feel punishments do not fit crimes.

Whelan, in particular, as an occasional captain and experienced international, should know better than to raise his boot into an opponent’s calf while already on a yellow.

No public criticism of him though from Mr Hughes.

As for Newcastle, on the wrong end of refereeing mishaps themselves recently against West Brom and Swansea, let’s just hope they were able to conserve a little energy during the inevitable keep-ball exercise after the interval.

They might enjoy a little less possession when Arsenal come to town for their “title clash” on Sunday.

Only joking. It’s a two-horse race between Manchester City and Liverpool for me.

– GAVIN LEDWITH

@GLedwithHMail