Lucas Neill’s post-match comments provided a valuable insight into the West Ham dressing room.
Speaking to BBC, Neill said that the penalty awarded to Carlos Tevez was dubious and the second goal should not have been given.
Curbishley confirmed those statements (though not in the same words) by saying that West Ham were lucky to win against Blackburn and that they needed the luck.
That’s not going to sit well with Blackburn, who will point to the second incident as further proof of the need for goal-line technology and post-match video reviews. The second goal was wrong on several accounts – a suspected handball by Lee Bowyer, the fact that Tevez was offside and the fact that the ball bounced off Tevez while he was standing on the line (thus the ball never crossed the line).
In a post-match review, the goal should have been disallowed and the points table redressed to accord a point apiece to both Blackburn and West Ham.
The Tevez penalty is still doubtful, but this is more because of the lack of variation in the punishment allowed to referees. They can either give a penalty or not – there’s no room for giving indirect free kicks for marginal fouls.
Neill also talked about the abuse he copped from Blackburn fans, although to be fair he should know that reputation counts for everything and right now Neill’s rep is that he went to West Ham for the money. It could have been for the challenge, it could have been because he wanted a starting position. But the money angle is how the story has been spun and he can either work on changing it or put up and shut up. Complaining about it is only going to bring more abuse his way (the way it has towards Ashley Cole.
Kudos to Mark Hughes for taking the defeat gracefully without any emotional outbursts or calling names. The man is dignified even in the most wrongful of defeats. His demeanour speaks volumes, and he will be, along with Roy Keane, one of the greatest football managers in the next decade.