Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Pulis: Huth let himself down

Fulham's Ashkan Dejagah, left, and Stoke Robert Huth, centre, battle for the ball

Stoke boss Tony Pulis believes Steven Nzonzi's behaviour in last Saturday's match at Fulham was understandable to an extent - but he is making no excuses for the actions of Robert Huth.

Having sustained a broken nose from a collision with Dimitar Berbatov in the Barclays Premier League encounter at Craven Cottage, Potters midfielder Nzonzi, appearing wound up, subsequently made a gesture to jeering Fulham fans as he received treatment and was then booked for putting his hand in Bryan Ruiz's face.

Later on in the game - a 1-0 win for the hosts - Nzonzi's team-mate Huth caught Philippe Senderos in the face with his forearm, something missed by match officials at the time but which led to the German centre-back being charged with violent conduct by the Football Association this week.

Huth chose not to contest the charge, meaning he will now serve a three-match suspension, and his manager this morning said he thought the 28-year-old had "let himself down".

Pulis also emphasised that he did not condone Nzonzi's antics, although he does feel it was "natural" that the 24-year-old Frenchman would react to what happened to him.

On Huth, signed for Stoke from Middlesbrough in 2009 by Pulis, he said: "Robert has been fantastic for this football club - a great player and one of the signings we will look back on and say 'what a wonderful signing'.

"But I think he has let himself down more than anything else. I don't think Robert will be pleased with it, and it affects the team.

"But everyone makes mistakes, and he will be big enough and strong enough to hold his hand up and say that what he did was wrong."

Then when asked about Nzonzi, Pulis said: "The reaction wasn't good, but there was a reason why the reaction wasn't good and that is most probably the difference between Robert and Steven.

"When you get a smack in the face like that, there is going to be a reaction, it is a natural thing. You shouldn't do it, but it is natural. But with Robert, I don't know what he was up to to be honest."

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