Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish: Chris Herd red card was 'the turning point' of West Brom defeat

The Scot claimed the young Australian should not have been dismissed, but defends Alan Hutton who escaped a red card for a horror challenge on Shane Long
Alex McLeish bemoaned the red card received by Chris Herd during his side's 2-1 home defeat to West Brom, saying that it was the "turning point" of the match.

Herd received his marching orders in the first-half for an alleged stamp on Jonas Olsson, an incident that was picked up by linesman Darren Caan, which resulted in the visitors being awarded a penalty only for Chris Brunt to slice it horribly wide.

But McLeish said having seen the incident again on video, he does not understand why the Australian, who was making his second Premier League start of the season, should have been awarded a red card.

“The sending off was a turning point without question. The replay that I’ve seen indicated that Chris was extricating his foot from Olsson’s grasp," he told reporters after the match.

“We’ve not seen a stamp on it, that’s what it looks like. Until I see another picture that makes it looks as if he’s stamped on somebody then allegedly it doesn’t look like a sending off.

“The linesman said he stamped on him, or he thinks he stamped on him. He’s got to be 100% right with that and maybe he’s right.

“I didn’t see any reaction from Olsson either, if you were stamped on I would have thought there’d be a massive reaction from a player.

“Chris has been very quiet in the dressing room, he feels he’s let the team down. Hopefully he’s not been lured into doing something that he shouldn’t have been."

When asked if further replays didn't show a stamp would he appeal the decision, McLeish simply responded: "100 per cent."

If the Villa manager's view of the red card differed from that of his West Brom counterpart Roy Hodgson, then it completely contrasted the foremr Fulham boss' over the challenge by Alan Hutton which forced Shane Long to go off injured.

Whereas Hodgson has said: "If ever I’ve seen a challenge that merited a red card, it was Hutton’s on Long" McLeish believed there was nothing malicious in the defender's attempt to win the ball.

“I did see it on the video. Shane Long was maybe favourite to get it, but Hutton’s gone from the ball and he’s collided in the follow through and that’s what’s injured him," he said.

“Is it a savage tackle? I don’t think it is. In the penalty box we see them a 100 times and unfortunately Shane got injured.

“Everybody doesn’t get injured from these challenges, but I understand what the argument will be and it will be that he got the ball but he’s followed through and collided with the player.

“But how can you stop in mid-air?”

The red card for Herd changed the match with Villa 1-0 up thanks to a Darren Bent penalty, but they were pegged back by set-piece goals from Olsson and Paul Scharner.

After last week's clash against Manchester City McLeish had complained about his side's defending and although he said his players had marked much better this week, he believed individually they had not been good enough.

“Unfortunately we lost out on the 50-50s today. We couldn’t complain about players not picking up this week, but we lost out on 50-50 challenges which hurt us badly," he added.

“We didn’t stay at one each long enough in the second-half. I still felt we could have won the game, but we just huffed and puffed after that, they took a bit of control of the game and we never had the inspiration.”