Poll: Norwich City’s Grant Holt believes Luis Suarez not to blame for ‘handball’ goal - and he would have done the same

Video grab taken from ESPN's coverage of the FA Cup Third Round match between Mansfield Town and Liverpool at the One Call Stadium in Mansfield showing the ball appearing to hit Liverpool's Luis Suarez's hand in the build up to him scoring his sides second goal. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday January 6, 2013. Photo credit: ESPN/PA Wire. Video grab taken from ESPN's coverage of the FA Cup Third Round match between Mansfield Town and Liverpool at the One Call Stadium in Mansfield showing the ball appearing to hit Liverpool's Luis Suarez's hand in the build up to him scoring his sides second goal. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday January 6, 2013. Photo credit: ESPN/PA Wire.

Monday, January 7, 2013
2:37 PM

Norwich City’s Grant Holt insists Luis Suarez was right not to tell the referee he handled the ball before scoring - and he would have done the same.

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Liverpool's Luis Suarez shooting and scoring his side's second goal during the FA Cup Third Round match at the One Call Stadium, Mansfield. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday January 6, 2013. Photo credit: Blue Square/Handout/PA WireLiverpool's Luis Suarez shooting and scoring his side's second goal during the FA Cup Third Round match at the One Call Stadium, Mansfield. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday January 6, 2013. Photo credit: Blue Square/Handout/PA Wire

Canaries frontman Holt said the referee was to blame for missing the ball striking Suarez’s hand in the build-up to Liverpool’s second goal in their 2-1 FA Cup third round victory against non-league Mansfield Town.

The ball made contact with the Uruguayan’s hand after his initial shot was saved by Stags ‘keeper Alan Marriott.

And the debate among commentators, pundits, former referees and fans continued today as to whether Suarez deliberately used his hand to control the ball or whether it deflected onto his hand.

Holt tweeted: “Don’t care what you say I would not tell the ref if I handled it neither should of Suarez. Ref fault missed it.”

Mansfield boss Paul Cox refused to condemn Suarez as a cheat after yesterday’s game, although raised questions about referee Andre Marriner and his assistants.

Cox said: “I don’t want to say anything bad about him [Suarez] because he is a fabulous talent, and if the shoe was on the other foot then we would have taken it.

“But when you’ve officials at that level, you expect them to pick up on it, but they are only human.”

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers felt the onus was not on Suarez to own up to the handball that helped his Premier League side reach the fourth round.

Rodgers was at pains to point out in the wake of yesterday’s clash at non-league Mansfield that Suarez did not deliberately handball what proved to be the all-important second goal in the 59th minute.

He said: “The ball hit him, and it is the job of the referee to determine whether it was deliberate or not.

“They clearly knew it had hit his hand because within a split second the fourth official had said it had hit his hand, so he’s obviously had dialogue with Andre, and he clearly felt it wasn’t deliberate.

“If it was someone else we wouldn’t be discussing it to this detail, but sometimes these sorts of things will follow players.

“I only like to talk about his talent and nothing what happened in this game, the ball hitting him on the hand, is his fault.

“If it was deemed deliberate then the referee would have disallowed the goal, but he didn’t, so the goal counts.”

Stags goalkeeper Marriott, who had a clear view of the handball given his save in the build up, described Suarez’s goal as “a sickener”.

The former Lincoln City player said: “You saw everyone’s reaction.

“Their players didn’t celebrate, and the manner in which he kicked the ball into the net afterwards suggested he thought it was going to be disallowed, but the officials missed it.

“It happens. It’s football, I don’t think you can call him a cheat. I know a lot of people have done in the past.

“But every man, from a Sunday League football team to the Premier League, is going to do that and if it gives you an advantage and you can get away with it, then unfortunately that’s football.”

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