Pardew defends Jedinak over Sakho elbow

Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew has leapt to the defence of Mile Jedinak after an ugly incident that could land the Socceroos skipper in hot water.

Making his return to the Crystal Palace starting XI following the Asian Cup and an ankle complaint, Jedinak appeared to catch West Ham’s Diafra Sakho in the face with his elbow late in Saturday’s 3-1 league win.

Jedinak was making a clearance from his own penalty box, before his trailing right elbow swung into Sakho’s face.

The incident went unpunished by the referee at the time, but left Hammers boss Sam Allardyce fuming, labeling it a red card offence.

Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp also slammed Jedinak for the elbow, which he described as “completely wrong”.

The Australian skipper could still face retrospective action from the English Football Association, such as a multi-game suspension.

Pardew moved to defend Jedinak, insisting it wasn’t a malicious challenge.

“I’ve seen the incident. There’s no doubt he’s gone to aggressively kick the ball into the stand to buy us some time and his elbow is high,” Pardew told the post-game press conference.

“I don’t think there is anything malicious in it. I hope the authorities look kindly on him.”

Pardew also heaped praise on Jedinak after a typically-solid 90-minute performance in midfield on his return to the side.

“His performance today was phenomenal,” Pardew said.

“He won almost every header in midfield. Anyone who knows him, knows he hasn’t got any nastiness in him.

“It’s a shame this will probably get some headlines.”

Meanwhile, Allardyce made his feelings clear when speaking at the post-game press conference.

“When you are in a winning position there is no need to even attempt something like that,” Allardyce said.

“I think he is pretty lucky to have got away with it.

“It could have been a red card and it would have been nice to have given us a lifeline in the game - but I don’t want to make any excuses for our performance.”