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Page last updated at 07:23 GMT, Thursday, 14 October 2010 08:23 UK

Dario Gradi backs Danny Murphy tackle criticism

Dario Gradi
Appointed Alex boss in 1983, Gradi has now been in charge for 1,294 games

Crewe Alexandra manager Dario Gradi has backed his former player Danny Murphy's condemnation of irresponsible tackling.

Fulham's Murphy, once a star graduate of Gradi's academy, inflamed passions with last week's public criticism of several Premier League managers.

But Gradi points out: "You don't play good football if you're hot headed.

"I'm happy to see people make tackles. I'm just not happy for people to risk injury getting tackled," the veteran boss told BBC Radio Stoke.

Fulham captain Murphy, now 33, started his career at Gresty Road before being signed by Liverpool for £3m in the summer of 1997.

And he then went back to Crewe for a three-month loan under Gradi in 1999.

Murphy has not forgotten the philosophy on the game taught him by Gradi, later honed by two and a half years under Roy Hodgson at Fulham, and paid tribute to both his former bosses.

"Danny mentions Roy Hodgson and myself in that context that we didn't wind players up," said Gradi, who also makes the point that over-aggressive tackling puts the perpetrator at just as much risk as the player being tackled.

Danny Murphy
Murphy was part of Crewe's play-off winning team at Wembley in 1997

And he points to two examples from the dozens of players who have passed though his hands since he took charge at Gresty Road in 1983.

"Nicky Maynard used to go into those sliding tackles and ended up breaking his own leg," recalls Gradi.

"And in my early days, Bob Scott used to go into hair-raising tackles on the halfway line.

"I used to say to him, 'you've won the ball, given a throw-in away. Was it really worth risking your limbs for that?'

"It's not a question of not tackling. It's certainly not worth risking getting sent off."

Gradi also indicated that the fans had a role to play in keeping tackling sensible.

"One of our supporters says to me every week, have you got them going Dario?

"I always say 'No, I hope not, I'm trying to keep them calm'," he said.

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