We stick together

Monday 10 December 2001

Fulham's Luis Boa Morte was sent off against Everton on Saturday by referee Phil Dowd for allegedly biting Everton captain David Weir, an allegation denied by Cottagers striker Barry Hayles.

"Weir was getting up and he kneed Boa," explained Hayles. "That's why Louis Saha and I flashed in and said 'what are you doing?'

"The ref's words were that he saw Boa bite him (Weir). "That's what he said the reason was for sending him off."

"We've got to wait for the match report to come through, as I think that once the club watch the video they will appeal - as there was no incident of biting."

Saha, officially the most fouled player in the Premiership, was just as sure Boa Morte had been wrongly dismissed.

"It wasn't harsh that the Everton player got sent off," he said. "I was very near the situation.

"I saw that he was still on the ground, he waited for Luis to move and then he left his foot on his head.

"That is not fair play and I was very upset because Luis is my friend. If it was me on the ground, maybe I would have stood up and done something wrong.

"It was very harsh on Luis. It definitely wasn't him who should have been sent off. We stood up to them very well, it was a fight sometimes.

"Maybe teams think we will be easy to intimidate because we have a lot of French players. But we have great team spirit and we are ready to fight every game. We showed we are prepared to stand up to these teams."

Everton left Craven Cottage nursing more than bruised feelings.

They were lacklustre in attack and defended poorly, allowing Barry Hayles to head home Rufus Brevett's cross from six yards 10 minutes before half-time. The striker was then left unmarked again to knock home another undefended cross five minutes after the break.