Neil Warnock: Telling my players what their ratings were nearly caused an incident in the dressing room

What I Learnt This Week
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The Independent Football

It was a big moment last weekend when, during a long session of packet opening with William, we finally pulled out my Match Attax football cards.

I was delighted to see I am a four-star. Obviously I had to point this out to the lads, so for my team talk last week I went through them one by one.

I showed them my card, then it was a case of, "Sorry Adel, you're only three-star, so are you Armand. Kieron, you're just a two-star..." and so on. I got to Fitz Hall and said to him: "Fitz, I can't bring myself to tell you..." He said sadly: "Someone's already told me boss, I'm a one-star."

I don't how how I'm going to build his confidence back up.

Luke Young is a four, so too, fortunately, is Joey Barton, which saved us a lot of possible problems as there's quite a bit of jealousy about the ratings. It must have cost me about £200 to get all our squad, which is more than I thought I'd have to spend on transfer fees at one point this summer. Now I can let William have his cards back.

2. I wouldn't have Tevez – not for all the tea in China

I wouldn't have Carlos Tevez in any team of mine after what he did in Munich, irrespective of how good he is after that. What happened really is a nightmare for a manager. I can't see any winners in it and without a doubt it'll affect the squad as there'll be one or two in his camp.

It's all right people saying Man City should just keep him on the bench, but that's difficult when you're paying him £250,000 a week. The PFA will make sure he's only fined two weeks' wages for it, but he should really have a much bigger punishment for doing something so unprofessional and there's got to be a change to make sure a manager is never put in the same position again.

I can just imagine Sir Alex watching it later and having a quiet smile over his red wine. There is no way he would have let Tevez go if it was just about football ability.

I've never had a player behave like that though I did once leave one out of the 16 as I thought he might not accept being on the bench. I'd tell you who it was, but the truth is I can't remember. The Tevez incident overshadowed Edin Dzeko's reaction to being substituted. That also upset Roberto Mancini but it wouldn't have bothered me. I've had several players show their anger at me at being substituted – you pretty much expected it with Clinton Morrison – but I didn't mind. It usually showed they were not only frustrated at coming off but at their own performance as well.

Some managers just announce the team without saying anything but I've always wanted to tell a player that I'm leaving him out, and the reasons. I think you get a bit more respect doing that and it reduces the possibility of a confrontation which could be hard to undo.

3. I can't understand crazy handballs in box like Kalou's

I could have cried watching the last few minutes of Chelsea's game in Valencia. They had played so well but missed out on victory through a stupid, irresponsible handball by Salomon Kalou. How much has he let the team down? Heavens knows what Andre Villas-Boas said to him. It won't help that the manager will blame himself for bringing Kalou on as a sub.

I've had one or two handballs like that from players and I can't understand why they do it. The last one was by Phil Jagielka of all people, when at Sheffield United, and it sent us down against Wigan. I was so disappointed on the day I couldn't talk to him about it. Only at the start of this season did I manage to ask him why. He just said he didn't know.

After the speculation about his future – which comes round about twice a year – it was nice to see Lampard score Chelsea's goal and prove his critics wrong again.

I thought Chelsea looked as lively as I have seen them for a while in the second half. Juan Mata gives them another dimension and Fernando Torres looked good on the night. How the goalkeeper saved two of his efforts I'll never know.

4. Little boy does an Amy and eats the duck's bread

We had Thursday off so Sharon and I enjoyed the good weather with a cycle ride around Richmond Park. We stopped to feed the swans and there was a little boy there, about three years old. Just as I was telling his mum that this brought back memories of when we took Amy to feed some ducks, and she put the bread straight in her mouth and ate it, the little boy did the same.

5. School bans leather ball – how will that help kids' skills?

Remember a school last year banned conkers for health and safety reasons? I read this week a school in Gloucestershire have banned a leather ball in the playground, so the boys have to use a sponge one. How can they improve if they are not allowed to use a proper ball? I'm sure the parents will agree to sign a form saying they won't blame the school if someone gets hit by it.

6. Shop in Richmond as traffic wardens are much nicer there

Whenever you feel down about life just think about the traffic warden in Chiswick who gave me a ticket for this. How sad must that person be? He probably has no friends in the world and his only enjoyment is looking for cars parked a few inches out of the box. If my inside wheels had been another six inches closer in they'd have been scraping the high kerb. I get on quite well with the traffic wardens in Richmond so when I saw some having a coffee I showed them the picture. They said a Richmond warden would not have given me a ticket for it – so go to Richmond for your shopping and eating out, not Chiswick.

I've appealed obviously, and I'll keep you all informed.

7. Ref had a good game but got the big decisions wrong

It shows how far we have come that I was disappointed to get a draw against Aston Villa but I suppose in the circumstances – one-nil down in the 93rd minute with 10 men – it was a good point.

Anyone who saw the game will understand why I found it very difficult to digest the penalty given against us, and could not understand why we were not given one. To judge by the questions fired at me by the press after the game they expected me to talk myself into trouble, but the FA have told us as long as we don't question a referee's integrity they are happy to accept us saying he got something wrong, or had a bad game. I didn't actually think Michael Oliver had a bad game overall, it was just the decisions I was disappointed with were very big ones.

I also thought Michael might have been more severe on some of the Villa players who were on a yellow card, and committed fouls, but I had no complaints when he did show a second yellow to Armand Traoré in the 90th minute. It was a tackle he didn't need to make and I stopped Armand on the way down the tunnel to tell him so. He's a smashing lad with an excellent future, but he has to learn not to make rash challenges like that, especially in the opposition's final third.

Villa must have been laughing their heads off but I was pleased with the never-say-die attitude the players displayed to get a point. That's the kind of spirit we showed last year and which we'll need this year. To show it with so many new players was very promising.

8. I'm hoping for first win at Cottage as player or manager

We're all looking forward to our first London derby of the season tomorrow, at Fulham. A lot of my friends locally, and William's mates at school, are Fulham fans which adds spice, and I do like going to the Cottage, it's a proper football ground.

I've been told by a local journalist I've managed there four times and lost them all, and played there four times and never won. I really appreciated that information, but I said: "There's always a first time you know."

I watched their Europa League game in Denmark on TV on Thursday and they looked really comfortable in a 2-0 win. The only thing they lacked was more goals. It was their 10th game in the competition already. I remember them playing the first day we came back for training, I don't know how I'd cope with that. I do admire any fan who's watched them all, it'll have cost a few bob.

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