O'Neill backs under-fire ref Poll

November 8, 2006

Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill has come to the defence of referees.

The Football Association are set to investigate Chelsea full-back Ashley Cole's claims that referee Graham Poll said he would teach the Stamford Bridge team a lesson during the match with Tottenham at the weekend.

However, O'Neill has backed Poll who refereed the game between the sides in September.

He told the Daily Mail: 'Jose is really funny. He said he wouldn't talk about the referee and then spent the next 25 minutes talking about him.

'Poll refereed when we played at their place and he was not the reason they dropped two points on that occasion.

'There could have been a case to argue that he was quite lenient to one of their players who had professionally fouled Juan Pablo Angel.

'Big clubs do get the decisions. I'm not moaning about that. I just want to make Aston Villa a big side so that we get them too.

'Everyone used to talk about Sir Alex Ferguson and his time-keeping and now the emphasis has shifted on to Chelsea.'