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Gallagher offers backing to Marriner

Marriner incorrectly dismissed visiting defender Kieran Gibbs during Chelsea's 6-0 thrashing of Arsenal at Stamford Bridge.

Gibbs was sent off in a case of mistaken identity after team-mate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had handled a shot from Eden Hazard on the goalline.

A subsequent statement from refereeing body the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) revealed that Marriner had apologised to Arsenal after learning of his error.

Yet the official's actions prompted strong criticism from ex-referee Clive Thomas, who stated that Marriner should not be handed another Premier League fixture this season.

Gallagher believes it would be unfair to punish Marriner for a "genuine mistake" and would like the 43-year-old to be given the opportunity to return to top-flight action at the earliest opportunity.

Asked whether Marriner should be handed a break for the remainder of the campaign, Gallagher told the BBC's Sportsweek programme: "I can't see that would do a referee any good. I can't see it would do Andre any good.

"You've got one of the leading referees in not only England but in Europe, and you're going to stand him down?

"That doesn't do the Premier League any good because he is a top top-flight referee - he's made one mistake and his confidence would be shattered if that happened.

"If you are in a position where you're going to stand a referee down for whatever period, whenever he goes back, the focus will be on him.

"What he needs is support. Good always comes out of bad. What we want to see is every referee learn from this. He's a great referee. He's made a genuine mistake and that's all it was."