Robert’s red defence

Last updated : 11 February 2003 By Martyn Elliott

He told his personal website: "He (Bergkamp) was very cunning and unfortunately for me, the referee fell in the trap.

"I had just equalised, I had had a great game and I took this booking as a staggering blow.

"Like we always do, we put someone in front of the ball to give the team some time to get back into place.

"I just stood in front of Bergkamp, who had the ball in his hands and he waited for me to be close before taking the free kick.

"As could be expected, the ball hit me and I was dismissed.

"Like everybody else, I was amazed. Arsenal's Frenchies even told me I did not deserve it.

"I found the referee's decision very harsh. But I can't hold a grudge because everybody's entitled to a mistake."

I’m not sure that Robert’s account is 100 per cent accurate, but there is no doubt that Bergkamp wanted to get him sent off and he naively fell into the trap.

Whatever anyone thinks now we can’t change it and have to accept it.

I’d like to think that none of our players would be quite as cynical as the Dutchman was, but that would require a huge imagination.

One thing that is definitely worth noting is that Robert gave his best and most committed performance of the season. More of the same please Laurent.