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Pablo thanks team-mates

PUBLISHED: 08:00 11 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:17 24 February 2010

A RELIEVED Pablo Counago has thanked his team-mates after their amazing fight-back against Sheffield United on Saturday.

The Spaniard admits he reacted stupidly after being pinched and punched by the Blades midfielder Michael Brown to get his second red card of the season.

A RELIEVED Pablo Counago has thanked his team-mates after their amazing fight-back against Sheffield United on Saturday.

The Spaniard admits he reacted stupidly after being pinched and punched by the Blades midfielder Michael Brown to get his second red card of the season.

Counago is likely to get a four-match ban for the sending off, three for violent conduct and an extra one for a repeat offence.

A contrite Counago watched the Town under-20s hold a very strong and physical Boca Juniors side to a goalless draw at a wet and windy Playford Road on Sunday and told me: "I'm very sorry for flicking my hand out as I did. The player had been grabbing me around the waist and punched me in my side and face and I lashed out.

"I threw my hand out and caught him but without any real power.

"I know that is the only thing the referee saw but I was very upset when he sent me off.

"I felt I had let the lads down badly and felt very upset."

It was scoreless when Northampton official Richard Beeby dismissed him in the 20th minute but Sheffield then went two goals up.

It seemed the game was lost. But a superb team effort backed by a wonderful Portman Road response prompted an incredible fight-back with two goals from Darren Bent and one from Darren Ambrose.

Counago said: "I was so grateful to all the lads, especially the two Darrens. It was brilliant to watch and I'm so glad my moment of stupidity did not cost us the points in the end."

Counago was sent off for a similar reaction to provocation at Reading earlier in the season and missed three games then.

With 14 goals to his credit so far this season, Counago has played an important part in Town's surge back up the table. But he has also come in for some terrible treatment at the hands of defenders with little or no protection from officials.

He said: "The physical side is part of the game but there are a lot of things going on which should not and referees are not looking after players like myself the way they should. Free-kicks are going against me even though I'm being tackled late or kicked from behind."

If the expected four-match ban is imposed, Counago will miss the games against Grimsby, Norwich City, Wolves away and Stoke City.


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