Slaven Bilic has insisted that Romaine Sawyers should not have been sent off during West Brom’s clash with Bristol City at Ashton Gate.
The Baggies picked up a superb 3-0 win on the road to take them four points clear at the top of the Championship table, and nine points clear of third-placed Fulham.
Callum Robinson and Hal Robson-Kanu scored two first-half goals in quick succession to fire Albion into a 2-0 lead, and Robson-Kanu added a third late on after profiting from a Daniel Bentley mistake.
Robson-Kanu’s third goal came only two minutes after Sawyers was shown a straight red card, after the midfielder put his hand around the throat of former Walsall teammate Jamie Paterson.
This sparked a furious response from the Bristol City bench, and after various discussions, Sawyers was given his marching orders and sent on his way down the tunnel.
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It marred what was otherwise a perfect afternoon for West Brom, but speaking in his post-match press conference, Bilic offered backing for his man.
Via Birmingham Live, Bilic insisted: “I spoke to him, and I saw the incident. Believe me, I’d say the same if it was the other way around – for me, it’s not a red card.
“For me, their player helped because he didn’t react in a crazy way. He didn’t exaggerate what happened. It was Romaine who reacted because of something that he did. Okay, he grabbed him, but if this is a red card we’d have a lot of red cards.
“For me, it’s not – and believe me I’d say the same…for people who say ‘well they’re the rules’ – yes but there are situations in the game. It can’t be black and white.
“For me, this is a derby game. Move on. They’re talking about three or four games – this is ridiculous to be fair. Romaine just isn’t that kind of a guy. It’s different if it’s someone crazy who is doing it, but not Romaine.”
Sawyers will now be missing for Albion’s next few games, starting off with a home clash against Preston North End this Tuesday night.
After Preston, Albion face Wigan Athletic at the Hawthorns before facing Newcastle United in the FA Cup.
This is quite a surprising assessment of Sawyers’ dismissal as I thought it was a nailed-on red card to be honest.
There is no excuses for putting your hand around a player’s throat, and it was all quite bizarre as they the pair looked to be laughing the incident off.
Sawyers suddenly started to look very annoyed, which hence, led to his dismissal. It was very silly by him, and he will be a big miss for the Baggies..