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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 October, 2004, 13:43 GMT 14:43 UK
It's all smoke and mirrors
Neil Warnock
By Neil Warnock
Sheff Utd boss and BBC Sport columnist

Nottingham Forest manager Joe Kinnear
Any comments Joe has to make about me are largely water off a duck's back

It was inevitable Joe Kinnear's pop at me after our game on Tuesday would grab the headlines.

To be honest, any comments Joe has to make about me are largely water off a duck's back.

I think a lot of what he said was to divert attention from Forest's problems and the pressure he is under. He accused me of standing on the touchline and trying to get his players booked.

That's not something I would ever do, but on the touchline I do get passionate and there's nothing wrong with that.

I was annoyed at some of the things that were going on the pitch and at the moment we seem to be getting the wrong end of the stick with referees.

We've had four players sent off this season - three in our last four games - but I have yet to see anything that warrants any of those dismissals.

We had Andy Gray sent off against Sunderland by an official who was 60 yards away, and I couldn't see why Chris Morgan got two bookings at Gillingham.

On Tuesday, Alan Quinn was the victim of a horrendous tackle and I thought the referee was going to send their player off.

Instead, he sent Quinn off for retaliating while he was on the floor.

One of their players, who was already sitting on a yellow card, grabbed Michael Tonge as he went by him and if that isn't a second yellow card, I don't know what is.

I think referees tend to overreact these days, mainly because they haven't played at this level.

I was always given to understand that the best referees were the ones you don't notice in a game, but it seems that now they almost feel obliged to do something.

A lot of the time they see things that aren't there, and miss things that are.

Sheffield United striker Paul Shaw
Paul Shaw is a perfect example of how you should never bomb players out

It's a shame that referees are again the talking point because it takes away from what we've done of late.

Tuesday was as good as we've played this season, but Alan Quinn's sending off affected us and cost us two points.

The dismissal took the shine off our performance, and it means we will be missing players for vital games when it's not warranted.

We've put together a little unbeaten five-match league run and we're tucked in nicely, with only about a third of the season gone.

We've played a few of the top teams, and we're getting our confidence. We've come through our bad patch of injuries and I think we can start to cause a few problems now.

Part of that run has been the form of Paul Shaw, and he is a perfect example of how you should never bomb players out because they can always change your mind about them.

At the start of the season we couldn't find a place in the team for him so we let him out to Rotherham to get his fitness.

It certainly did the trick because since coming back, he's been a different player. He's now not playing catch-up in terms of fitness with the other players.

It's also strange how players always manage to score against their old teams, and his two at Gillingham were a just reward for his efforts.


THE NEIL WARNOCK COLUMN

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