Football

Taylor denies Ronaldo bust-up

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Steven Taylor swiftly dismissed claims he was involved in a furious tunnel bust-up with Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo.

Reports suggested the two men had to be separated by team-mates as they clashed off the pitch moments after coming together on it. However, while it is understood there was a lively exchange of views in the tunnel, the 23-year-old Newcastle defender has insisted he and Ronaldo were never in close contact, and the Football Association have confirmed they will not take any action.

Taylor said: "There was no bust-up with Ronaldo - he was nowhere near me."

He added: "I have no problem with Cristiano and I shook his hand at the end."

Taylor's touchline challenge on the Portugal international in first-half injury time left the midfielder in a heap and prompted Rio Ferdinand to chase the defender back into his own half to remonstrate with him.

Caretaker Newcastle boss Chris Hughton later voiced the opinion that his player had caught Ronaldo on the shoulder with his arm, and after consulting his assistant, referee Steve Bennett merely booked him.

But if many of the headlines were made by what happened off the field of play, the most significant events came on it as United re-established their seven-point lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League table with a 2-1 victory which plunged Newcastle deeper into relegation trouble.

But midfielder Alan Smith, who started his first game of the season against his former club, is confident Newcastle can beat the drop if they reproduce Wednesday night's performance on a regular basis over the final 10 games of the campaign.

Smith, a member of the Leeds team which slipped out of the top flight in 2004, said: "You never want a relegation on your CV.

"If there are people that need reminding of it, I'm not one of them. There are 10 games left and hopefully we can go to Hull a week on Saturday and get a performance and result."

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Topics:
Football
Steven Taylor
Alan Smith
Premier League
Manchester United
Cristiano Ronaldo
Hull City
Leeds United
Rio Ferdinand

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