Martin O'Neill hits back at Alan Shearer over Cyrus Christie criticism
"Maybe that's why he only managed eight games, that might be something to do with it."
Martin O'Neill has hit back at Alan Shearer's analysis of Cyrus Christie's performance for Fulham last Sunday.
The Republic of Ireland defender appeared to be targeted by the Gunners in the 5-1 defeat. Christie played at right wing-back and Arsenal launched many of their attacks down his side.
On Match of the Day 2, Shearer was critical of his display and questioned why he didn't appear to work harder to try to get back when his team were under the cosh.
The Ireland manager has completely rejected Shearer's analysis of Christie's performance.
O'Neill told reporters in Dublin on Tuesday that the former Newcastle United striker had not "thought out" his comments.
"I don't think the severe criticism was as warranted."
"You haven't put in the possibility that the manager has told him to stay up the pitch," said O'Neill.
"He (Shearer) should have prefaced things by saying, 'I don't know what the manager has said'. Because, at the end of the day, the manager has asked him to stay up the pitch and not worry about getting back.
"I don't think the severe criticism was as warranted. I don't think everything was down to him and the first thing I thought about when Shearer was saying those things is, 'you should be asking the question'."
"Maybe that's why he only managed eight games."
O'Neill also took a dig at Shearer's brief stint as a manager. The BBC football pundit was Newcastle United manager for the final eight games of the Premier League season in 2009.
The club were in crisis and he was asked to step in as a last resort to save them from the drop. Newcastle were relegated, and Shearer hasn't returned to the dugout since, focusing on his career as a pundit instead.
"Maybe that's why he only managed eight games, that might be something to do with it," O'Neill said.
The Ireland manager has every right to defend his player. But Shearer was merely doing his job.
He did say that he didn't feel comfortable picking on Christie, and he can only judge a player by what he sees on the pitch.
However, it is interesting that O'Neill thinks that criticism of players should be prefaced by considering the instructions the player has been given by his manager before the game.
You can watch Shearer's analysis here: