John Carver, the Newcastle manager, accused defender Mike Williamson of getting himself sent off on purpose as an “easy way out” of his side’s 3-0 defeat away to Leicester City, their eighth loss in a row, which plunged them into a desperate relegation battle.
Williamson was shown a second yellow card for barging Jamie Vardy when the pair were already off the pitch.
“I thought he’s done that on purpose – it looks like he did,” Carver said in an extraordinary accusation.
“The ball was off the pitch – he had no need to make the challenge. He will miss two games. Is it an easy way out?”
•Leicester vs Newcastle: as it happened
Carver, who is set to be replaced as Newcastle manager with Derby County’s Steve McClaren expected to take over as head coach this summer, said he had told Williamson “face-to-face” what he thought.
“I thought he meant it,” he added of the sending off. “My first reaction was don’t do it and he did it.
“There was no need to do it and I’m not accepting that. It’s my thought when it’s happened. I just [thought] ‘he’s meant that’ and I’ve told him that.”
The Newcastle players were accused of being “gutless” by supporters with Carver adding: “I can’t disagree with them.
“And I know some of them [players] went over at full-time and they didn’t want to see them and if I had been sitting in the stands I would have said the same thing.”
He added: “We’re a soft touch…on a scale of one to 10, it [the performance] is a minus 10.”
The victory meant Leicester manager Nigel Pearson ended a difficult week, in which he was accused of bullying a reporter, on a high with his side.