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What the managers said April 23: Sunderland, Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester United, Everton, West Brom, Chelsea, Arsenal

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is riding high, while Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill feels let down by officials. See what they and other Premier League bosses have to say about all of the weekend’s action.

Newcastle took control of the race for the Champions League play-off place with a 3-0 home win over Stoke.

Yohan Cabaye scored twice and set up Papiss Cisse for the other to secure a sixth successive Barclays Premier League win.

“Whatever we do now, it’s an outstanding season,” manager Alan Pardew said.

“But of course, we haven’t lost sight of what the city hasn’t lost sight of.

“You can feel it in the crowd, you can feel it in the city, that there’s a chance for us to do something really special (and qualify for the Champions League).”

Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill was convinced match officials had cost his side all three points after the clash with Aston Villa ended 0-0.

Nicklas Bendtner was level with play when he steered home Seb Larsson’s cross late in the game.

But the official who flagged was convinced the striker was offside – a misjudgement he will have been made aware of by just about every TV programme reviewing the incident over the weekend.

O’Neill said: “We had plenty of chances in the game and I was disappointed that we couldn’t take any of them,” he said.

“I think that the linesman has incorrectly called the offside.

“Nicklas Bendtner was level, he was onside – those were the rules last week and unless they’d changed the rules on the morning of the game, it was still onside for our game!

“They are having a tough time at the minute, the linesman and referees for a few things, but there are certain things that they just have to get right.

“Particularly when this particular linesman told one of our players to watch it later on TV afterwards when he queried the decision.

“That was very magnanimous of him.

“Very nice.

“I just hope he watched it himself, before he settled down to his fish supper

Chelsea warmed up for tomorrow night’s Champions League semi-final second leg at Barcelona with a goalless draw at Arsenal.

The Blues kept a clean sheet for the second successive match after their stunning 1-0 first-leg success over the Catalans gave them hope of reaching the Munich final.

Another blank at the Nou Camp tomorrow would ensure they do just that and the steely defensive display at Emirates Stadium offered Blues fans yet more hope.

The much-changed Blues’ negative approach drew disapproval from Gunners boss Arsene Wenger though, after he saw Laurent Koscielny head his side’s best chance against the bar when unmarked.

“Before the game, I thought it would be an open one – we had to win, they had to win,” he said.

“They decided to lock up the game and catch us on the break only, with two wide players who are quick, and Fernando Torres.

“I felt we had a very solid defensive performance.”

Chelsea interim boss Roberto Di Matteo said: “I think we looked dangerous on the break many times, but we needed more quality at the end of the match to get the points.”

The point edged Arsenal closer to an automatic Champions League place, but for Chelsea their hopes of returning to Europe’s premier club competition now look like resting on winning it next month.

Tottenham are in free fall as they slipped outside the top four for the first time since November as they lost 1-0 to 10-man QPR.

Despite that boss Harry Redknapp said: “We have four games to go and I’m confident we can win four games. I’m very confident (we will finish in the top four) – it is all to play for.”

Former Spurs midfielder Adel Taarabt scored the winning free-kick and while he was sent off with 11 minutes left his side held on to edge three points clear of the drop zone.

Manager Kenny Dalglish admits he has repeated himself too many times when discussing Liverpool’s inability to convert their chances, but is convinced they are only missing a stroke of good fortune.

The Reds had 28 shots, 12 of which were on target, and won 15 corners at home to West Brom but the vital statistic belonged to Peter Odemwingie.

He scored the only goal of the game to give Roy Hodgson a satisfying first return to the club who sacked him in January last year.

“It’s not just been one of those days; it’s been like that seven or eight times here,” said Dalglish, whose side have dropped an astounding 27 points at home this season.

“There’s not much else that we can add to what we’ve said before so many times after a game at Anfield.

“I think you could go back over the old interviews and it’ll be the same thing.

“They just need a bit of luck I think. It sounds repetitive but it’s not an excuse.”

Hodgson insisted ending West Brom’s long win-less streak at Anfield gave him greater pleasure than getting one over on his former employers.

“The major satisfaction is winning at Anfield. With the team we have I don’t think most people expect us to come and win here,” he said.

“We go away very happy. I understand Kenny and his team will feel very aggrieved they did not get something out of the game and their performance merited something - I can’t argue with that.

“But you will have to forgive me for feeling pleased we did get away from this game with a result.”

Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted two minutes of madness at Old Trafford yesterday could turn out to be “very costly” in the Premier League title race.

Roughly three and a half hours after Nikica Jelavic and Steven Pienaar had struck to earn Everton a point from a staggering 4-4 draw at Manchester United yesterday, Manchester City secured a victory at Wolves that cut the gap between the two sides to three points.

As City have a superior goal difference, the maths are clear heading into the Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium on April 30.

Lose, and United also lose control of their own destiny with just two games of the campaign remaining.

“It could be costly,” said Ferguson.

“We’ve thrown a game away that we should be coasting.

“It was terrible defending and a lack of concentration from us.”

Everton manager David Moyes said he felt “insulted” that his side’s character should have been questioned, even though they twice found themselves two adrift just eight days after they were beaten by old rivals Liverpool in the FA Cup semi-final.

“I am really disappointed people would question their character,” said Moyes.

“It is a bit insulting because I would hate to think people either wouldn’t understand me or the culture of Everton FC.”

 

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