Mills: 'I'm not a cheat'

CHRIS LAKEY Danny Mills has launched a hard-hitting attack on Peter Grant after the City manager accused him of cheating. Mills was at the centre of a controversial finale to the 2-0 defeat at Charlton on Tuesday, when Canaries skipper Dion Dublin was sent off for violent conduct after a challenge on the former England defender.

CHRIS LAKEY

Danny Mills has launched a hard-hitting attack on Peter Grant after the City manager accused him of cheating.

Mills was at the centre of a controversial finale to the 2-0 defeat at Charlton on Tuesday, when Canaries skipper Dion Dublin was sent off for violent conduct after a challenge on the former England defender.

Grant - who has now lost Dublin for three games after his appeal was thrown out by the FA - said Mills shouldn't even have been on the pitch after earlier incidents involving Darren Huckerby, and reiterated his claim that Mills, a one-time Carrow Road team-mate, was a cheat.

Grant claimed Mills had deliberately elbowed Huckerby and contributed towards Dublin's dismissal as the match moved into injury time.

“If you look at the incident, Mills has actually looked at him and Dion just muscled him out of the way,” said Grant. “He has hit him with his shoulder full on, as in the old shoulder charge, and I think Mills was embarrassed and I think that's why he got up the way he did because he was trying to do Dion, and Dion swatted him like a fly, out of the road.”

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But Mills launched a vigorous defence of his actions and said the Canaries boss was making excuses for his team's lack of success and was a manager under pressure.

“I have been called many things in my career and even in my personal life - some of it was deserved and some not,” said the 30-year-old.

“Over the years I have learned to just brush off ignorant comments. However, I do take exception to being called a cheat and on this occasion I feel I must defend myself.

“Peter has obviously now seen the video and replays of all incidents, as I myself have. In fact I have spent the last few hours studying the footage from the game and I do not understand why I have been labelled a cheat.

“Yes, I play the game on the edge, but for me a cheat is a diver, someone that feigns injury and rolls around on the floor.”

Mills - on loan at Charlton from Manchester City - said he was blameless in the incident that led to Dublin's dismissal.

“We were nowhere near the ball and I got knocked over,” he said. “It would have been easy to lay on the floor clutching my face in an attempt to get him sent off, but did I? No, is the answer to that. The referee is the man who decided it was a red card incident, not me.

“Peter has had a good chance to review the situations and his comments, but has reiterated that I cheated. He has also been given the chance to explain but refuses to.

“I'm not bi-lingual but perhaps the word contradiction means something different in Scottish?

“For me it is comments from a man under pressure, said in the heat of the moment, looking for excuses for his own team's failings.

“As a manager you have to take ultimate responsibility. When it goes well, you take the praise, but when it doesn't then you need to look long and hard at yourself.

“It's no good trying to pass the buck like a hot potato as anybody can make excuses.

“He's been offered an olive branch, but has chosen to ignore it and now that the appeal has been turned down will he also label the referee and those that made that decision, cheats? I very much doubt it.

“Cheat is a disgraceful word to be labelled with. I am not one and will defend myself to the nth degree.”

Mills - whose comments have been posted on his website, www.dannymills.co.uk - said a first-half incident with Huckerby was “a tangle, no more”, and that he had tried to prevent Huckerby getting booked for a second-half tackle by the City man.

Grants also claimed Mills had elbowed Huckerby as the two of them chased a loose ball.

“In the second half we came together again after chasing for the ball,” said Mills. “To get in front, I put my arm across him, which is good defending. He fell to the ground quite dramatically, but when the decision went against him he jumped straight up and still I don't see how I cheated.”

Mills said he had suffered damage to two teeth after an aerial challenge by City's Simon Lappin, whose elbow, he said, split his lip.

“I still didn't roll around on the floor though, as it's not part of my game,” he said. “I got up and very much to his credit the Norwich physio came on to assist. Hopefully his swift action might have saved them. Does this mean I have the right to start calling this player a cheat? No, of course not. On occasions such as this I prefer to keep my personal thoughts to myself and act in a professional manner.”