MARTIN O’Neill admits he sympathises with Lee Cattermole for allowing his emotions to boil over at the conclusion of the Tyne-Wear derby, even though he has hit the Sunderland skipper in the pocket.
The dismissal, coupled with a 10th yellow card of the season for the Black Cats skipper earlier in the game, will see Cattermole sidelined for Sunderland’s next four outings, including their FA Cup quarter final clash at Everton.
Meanwhile, O’Neill also rubbished Newcastle boss Alan Pardew’s suggestion that Cattermole’s booking just 38 seconds into the game for a scythe on Tiote was part of Sunderland’s strategy.
“It must have been some game plan I had for Cattermole to set the tone by being booked in the first minute of the match and then having to tread carefully for 89 minutes,” added O’Neill.
“I don’t think any manager with an ounce of intellect would be managing too long if that was the case.”
Read more of O’Neill’s reaction to Pardew’s comments in today’s Sportmail.