The Blackburn Rovers manager Sam Allardyce yesterday described Danny Murphy's allegation that he encourages players to injure opponents as "outrageous" and said that the Fulham captain should apologise "if he's man enough".
In a wide-ranging defence of his style Allardyce, whose side face Sunderland on Sunday, said that Murphy was trading on a "perception" of Blackburn and Allardyce himself when he described him as one of three managers who sent their players out in a frame of mind to cause serious injuries.
Allardyce also called upon the players' union, the Professional Footballers' Association, to intervene after Murphy, making a more general point following his attack on the playing styles of Stoke City, Blackburn and Wolverhampton Wanderers, said that players who made reckless tackles had "no brains".
Allardyce said: "It's not for me to get hold of Danny Murphy. It would be more appropriate if Danny Murphy came out and said, 'Perhaps I shouldn't have said what I said.' If he's man enough, he'll apologise. But he's said it and we have to defend ourselves against it.
"The allegation made by Danny Murphy was totally and utterly wrong as you can see by the facts we have given out. We are not dirty and we never go out to injure a player; I never send a player out to injure a player on the opposite side, we are too professional for that.
"People like Danny Murphy are giving a perception that's not true and I hate perception. There is far too much of it in the game, we should stick to reality. I was very, very angry indeed when I saw it. The players are very angry – was it brainless or mindless he said? An outrageous statement to make. We don't want any backlash from those suggestions, from people's perception that we are a dirty side.
"I don't know why he said it. Nobody wants to see players get injured or send players out to injure other players. When you start making statements like that, you've got to be make them from the strength of what the reality is.
"I'm making a statement [based on] the reality that I've got the best disciplinary record over the last five years at the club. I've reduced the yellow card scenario down to 1.5 per game from two. We've not had a sending-off this season.
"In this calendar year, we've only had one in Chris Samba and anyone who was at Stoke would say he shouldn't have got sent off. In the disciplinary table we're about fourth."
Speaking at a conference last week, Murphy identified Allardyce, Tony Pulis and Mick McCarthy as three managers who were guilty, he said, of "sending the players out so pumped up that inevitably there are going to be problems". Murphy also said: "The pace some of the players are going into tackles is ridiculous. There are no brains in the players doing that."
Allardyce added: "Danny Murphy doesn't know about Sam Allardyce because he's never been managed by Sam Allardyce or coached by Sam Allardyce, so he hasn't really got an opinion to give or should have an opinion to give because he's got no foundation. That's the disappointing thing. To be sat in a Leaders in Football conference and make an outrageous statement like that, he should be held to rights.
"I got an invite to go and speak there but I had spoken at the LMA [League Managers' Association] business conference so I had done my bit on that conference, which is a much better one to attend. I don't want a backlash from referees or other fans because it's not true.
"I think Gordon Taylor should be the first man to be speaking to Danny Murphy and putting him back on the right track because that's his responsibility as head [chief executive] of the PFA."
The current Premier League disciplinary table has Blackburn as the fourth best-behaved team with 11 yellow cards behind Everton, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea. Wolves have the league's worst disciplinary record and Stoke are in tenth place. Fulham, with 12 yellow cards, are two places behind Blackburn in sixth.
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