League Cup - Nevin: Ball boy was 'disgraceful'

Former Chelsea midfielder Pat Nevin has defended Eden Hazard following his sending off on Wednesday night, describing the Swansea ball boy's behaviour as "disgraceful."

Hazard was dismissed with 10 minutes remaining of the Carling Cup semi-final second leg when he kicked the ball from under a 17-year-old ball boy, who was attempting to waste time by lying on it.

The Belgian star has been subjected to criticism, and may yet face further punishment from the Football Association, but Nevin says the ball boy should also be put under scrutiny.

"I was very, very disappointed with how the ball boy acted," Nevin told the BBC. "He must have been watching footballers with the way he rolled around and pretended to be more injured.

"He's only got one job and his job is to go and give the ball back to the players. What does he do? He keeps the ball.

"I have to say I was absolutely amazed this morning to find out that he was 17. He's not 12, not 13 and he should know what his actions should be in that situation. His behaviour was disgraceful."

Asked if he would have done the same as Hazard, Nevin said: "I would have kicked the ball from beneath the ball boy, yes 100 per cent. Sorry that's not very right on, but I would have."

However, former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher praised Wednesday night's officials for the way they handled the Hazard incident, insisting the Chelsea midfielder has "no defence".

Referee Chris Foy dismissed the Belgian international and Gallagher said on Thursday: "The referee has taken the correct action, It's against the laws of the game to commit violent conduct on anyone under the jurisdiction of the game. I can't reinforce how switched-on the officials were. It would have been so easy for the assistant referee not to pick that (incident) up - but he did."

Gallagher continued: "There's no defence for that. Someone said it was borne out of frustration but you have to accept it. I don't want to see it again.

"It was an extreme but you can't have that at a football match. It's been addressed - and the action which has been taken is strong and correct."