Hackett slams 'appalling' Grealish after Aston Villa v Chelsea controversy

Cesar Azpilicueta left referee Stuart Atwell with “no alternative” than to send him off in Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat to Aston Villa, according to Keith Hackett.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-FIFA and Premier League official slammed Jack Grealish’s “appalling” reaction after he was struck in the face by the Chelsea captain.

In the 89th minute, Grealish and Azpilicueta both challenged for a loose ball with Chelsea winning a free-kick.

However, as the Spaniard got up to take the free-kick, he flung an arm at Grealish who fell to the ground clutching his face.

Asked for his assessment of the incident, Hackett told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley: “The referee is in a good position, that’s the first point.

“But look at Grealish, he’s gone down like he’s dead. I think we just need a bit more honesty from players.

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“I generally think that he’s [Grealish] got a bit of a reputation. 

“I’ve got to tell you, as a referee I know we’re supposed to referee the full game, but in the 89th minute I wouldn’t have been sending him off.

“The player’s stupid. The referee’s there, he’s put his hand in the face of his opponent. He’s at risk of getting sent off and he’s got sent off.

“The law covers the referee but the reaction from Jack Grealish is appalling. 

“The referee, having seen what he’s seen, is left with no alternative but to give a red card.

“My view is that, in my era, I’d have been looking at my watch and seen 89 minutes and would have given him a yellow card and a bit of a rollicking. That’s what we need a bit more of in refereeing but we also need players to stop trying to get their opponents sent off. Grealish is acting.”

In other news, Aston Villa could sign a 21-year-old by 11th June.