Football

'It's a definite penalty'

Crouch says ref should have given spot-kick for Smalling's handball

Peter Crouch felt that Stoke City deserved a penalty after Manchester United defender Chris Smalling raised his arms to block his header in the second half of the 1-1 draw last night.

"I know I won the header cleanly, it was on target and Smalling had his hands up. I thought it was a definite penalty but I'd have to see it again," said Crouch after the match at the Britannia Stadium.

"We had chances, we've hit the post, we would have liked to have won it but, in the scheme of things, maybe a draw was fair."

Stoke boss Mark Hughes was frustrated by not just the handball appeal, but another penalty shout after Crouch's header against the woodwork.

"We've had two penalties not given," he said. "The obvious one was when Crouch headed towards goal and Smalling basically batted the ball down.

"Then, when Crouch hits the post, you see Geoff Cameron waiting to put the ball in and he gets taken out."

On his team's overall performance, Hughes said: "Tactically, we were spot -on, they found it very difficult to get their key players on the ball.

"I'm disappointed but pleased we've got more points on the board and a good performance once again."

BELOW PAR

United manager Louis van Gaal admitted that his team were below par and were lucky to escape with a point that stretched their unbeaten run to 10 matches.

"We didn't deserve any more than a draw," said the Dutchman. "They were closer to a winning goal than us. We should have played better today."

The United boss revealed that Ashley Young could be out for "many weeks" after he limped off with a hamstring injury.

Van Gaal also admitted that his side "had difficulties defending long balls" in an awkward swirling wind.

Jonny Evans was particularly thankful to see former United teammate Mame Biram Diouf miss a clear chance after the Northern Ireland international misjudged a long ball.

"It was scrappy, hard to judge the ball with the wind, but that's the challenge for us," said Evans.

"(Diouf) made a bit of a mess of it and I'm thankful for that."

Crouch admitted that Stoke had to go "back to the old school" given the weather conditions.

"With the conditions today, it was a little bit back to the old-school days," said the lanky striker.

"It's another string to our bow, we've got good players now and we can get the ball down and play, but we are strong at set-pieces - although we conceded from one today, which was disappointing."

Crouch has been linked with a move to West Brom to join former Stoke manager Tony Pulis, but Hughes insisted that there is "nothing" in those reports, adding "Peter's a big part of what we do here."

The Stoke boss also revealed that playmaker Bojan Krkic will be out for another "10 days to a couple of weeks" with a hamstring problem. - PA Sport.