Pompey boss Kenny Jackett has backed Nathan Thompson following his controversial role in Alex Mowatt’s dismissal.
The Blues player was floored by the left hand of Mowatt during Sunday’s 3-0 victory over Oxford United.
It was a consequence of Thompson’s response after the U’s player missed a penalty in the televised encounter.
Oxford manager Karl Robinson later criticised Thompson’s behaviour, believing he should have been sent off along with Mowatt.
But Jackett is sticking by his player, who will retain his place in the Pompey side at Walsall tomorrow.
Jackett said: ‘I back my player, 100 per cent.
You can’t take the emotion out of the gameKenny Jackett
‘You never know what was said previously. I don’t think you can be penalising people because you never know how far things go back and what was said.
‘You are talking about an ex-Swindon captain, somebody who has made a big contribution, somebody who is one of the best professionals I have worked with.
‘You can’t take the emotion out of the game.
‘Forget about Nathan Thompson. If you are going to book players for situations like that then where do you draw the line? How far do you go back? When was somebody provoking provoked?
‘It’s very difficult and the referee’s job is hard as it is. It is only going to make a hard job even harder if you are going to insist on punishing those type of things.
‘We (Thompson and Jackett) have talked about it – and that obviously has to remain private – but most importantly we have to look forward.
‘We must stop dwelling on last week’s game, win or lose. It doesn’t help you beat Walsall – and that has to be our priority.’