Spot Of Bother

Glenn Roeder says that West Ham could have had TWO penalties against Arsenal on Saturday - but admits referees have a tough job.

Having studied the video of the match, he is more convinced than ever that the Hammers were robbed of a spot kick late in the game when Patrick Vieira handled the ball in the area.

"It is one of the things that is in the uppermost of my mind," he says, "because, as I thought standing on the pitch side on Saturday, it was a blatant handball that the referee missed.

"At the level we play at, it is disappointing - when it is that blatant - that it happens, especially as the linesman was on that side as well. Between the linesman and the referee we've got to assume that they've missed the incident.

"You have to look at the big picture, and the big picture would probably suggest it was the right result.

"You have to take what you are given sometimes, but it was particularly disappointing, so late in the game, to miss such an obvious penalty.

"But you have to live with these things and hopefully there is one round the corner that does us a favour and gets us the three points."

Of the two yellow cards collected by Paolo Di Canio and Robert Pires for 'diving', Glenn again feels the officials got it wrong and says: "I didn't think Paolo dived and I didn't think Pires dived. There were two challenges, particularly the Di Canio one, that could have resulted in a penalty.

"I'm confident that Paolo never took a dive and as far as Tomas Repka's challenge on Pires was concerned, Tomas is a physically strong person and is entitled to have his arms out there and be strong.

"Pires going for the ball couldn't shift Tomas' arm if you want, and he went down, but I don't think Pires dived either.

"We are talking about it in a quick moment when the referee has to make a decision in a split second, but I didn't think either player should have been booked.

"They have a hard job to do, and all you want is that throughout the course of the season the good decisions and the poor decisions equal themselves out - I understand that it is a tough, tough job they have got."

Glenn reveals that he did not speak to Mike Riley after the game about his concerns and reveals: "I'm not a believer in that - all that ranting and raving at referees is a lot of hot air.

"There are people who decide that is the route they want to take, there are managers and coaches who feel they need to air their opinions immediately after the game but my view is, having been in the game so long, they are not going to change a decision - and even if they wanted to it is too late.

"I have got more important things to do talking to the players in the dressing room than worrying about ranting and raving at referees.

"I think I did in my younger days at Watford and all that it meant was that I was sent up to the FA two or three times - so I have learned my lesson."

But Glenn does feel that the number of bookings - seven in all - in the match was excessive, and adds: "I didn't think it was a dirty game that warranted all those bookings.

"From what I can remember - and this is not a biased opinion, I'd like to think Arsene Wenger would agree with me - the only booking that was absolutely nailed on was when Lauren brought down Trevor Sinclair.

"And I'm not asking for a red card there either because there were people getting back, but I thought it was justified he got a yellow card, and I would expect that Arsene looking at the video would have agreed with me on that one with no complaints.

"Other than that, Michael Carrick was booked for, as someone described it, 'heavy breathing on the back of Pires' neck'.

"It wasn't that sort of game and I think Arsene Wenger would agree with me. He wouldn't want all those bookings and we don't want players to be missing through suspension because it robs the fans of seeing the players out there on the pitch.

"If it is a diabolical or dangerous tackle, then make the booking, but I thought it was not the sort of game that deserved the amount of bookings that we ended up with."

As well as taking every precaution to avoid injuries, suspensions are also a concern, and Glenn adds: "We couldn't cope with suspensions or injuries, if you scratch the surface the squad lacks strength in depth in any shape or form.

"When we had four first team players missing for the Tottenham game we had problems and now, because of Paolo being booked for the fifth time, he misses the Liverpool game and it robs us of his skills and abilities.

"Paolo will definitely be absent because there is no mechanism for appealing against a yellow card. I just hope that both Kanoute and Defoe are fit then, and also Kitson must come into the equation."

Glenn admits he is concerned about the amount of cheating that goes on now and adds: "I'd like to think, though I'm not so certain, that all managers are running in the same direction and that we are not asking our players to fall over and win free kicks - I don't think it has any part in the game.

"If you are fouled, you go down and get your free kick, which is what you deserve. If you are not, stay on your feet and try and carry on with the play.

"But I have to say that the falling over easily is a disease that has crept into our game. I don't like it at all - and never have done.

"No one wants to win more than me - managers are under incredible pressure but it is not on asking your players to fall over."