Managers defend Carsley challenge

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Mick McCarthy and Alex McLeish both jumped to the defence of Lee Carsley after his horror tackle put a tarnish on Birmingham's significant 2-0 victory over promotion rivals Wolves.

The Blues skipper was shown a straight red card in the 36th minute for a dangerously high tackle on Chris Iwelumo that looked to take more of the striker's knee than the ball.

And Wolves manager McCarthy said: "At the time I couldn't really see it, but I've just watched it again and let me clear something up. Lee wouldn't go in to hurt anybody and that's for sure. He's a competitor and I think he's just mistimed it, he's caught him and it's not a very nice tackle."

The Scotland international was left to play no further part in the Cola-Cola Championship clash, although early examinations suggest the injury is not as bad as initially feared. Carsley is believed to have sought out Iwelumo after the game in order to issue an apology.

McCarthy added: "He's one of the nicest blokes you'll ever come across in football and not for one minute do I think he's attempted to 'do' Chris.

"I don't think there's any doubt it was the turning point, the game was going nowhere. I thought we were comfortable except for a couple of mistakes."

Cameron Jerome's close-range finish in first-half stoppage time and Garry O'Connor's well-taken goal in the 69th minute were enough to secure victory for Blues over a Wolves side who were punished for their defensive frailties. The victory moved City to within two points of their midlands neighbours at the top of the table.

But much of the post-match talk did surround Carsley's challenge, and Blues boss McLeish echoed his opposite number's thoughts.

"I thought he wasn't the favourite to win the ball. Lee's a wholehearted player, committed, he's not a dirty player by any means and all the professionals know that," said McLeish.

"He was upset at half-time. He knows that the player is injured and he cares, he is a guy who cares not only about the cause for Birmingham but he respects his fellow pro's."

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Lee Carsley
Chris Iwelumo
Cameron Jerome
Lee Carsley
Garry O'Connor
Wolverhampton Wanderers

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