Saturday, 23 December 2017

Referees must learn to protect players - Pep Guardiola

Manchester City manager felt Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling were fortunate to escape injury after heavy challenges from Tottenham's Harry Kane and Dele Alli respectively last week.
Pep Guardiola insists he is not just talking about his players, pointing out that City defender Nicolas Otamendi kicked Kane in the face in the same game. It is an issue Guardiola feels should be more of a priority than combating diving.

He said: "I don't believe the players go to injure another one - it is impossible to think that - but the football is quick, fast and aggressive, and the refs have to follow the rules. Everybody is squealing about diving here. If they want to punish those who are diving, it's OK, but the main thing the ref has to do is protect the players. I'm not saying protect Manchester City players, but protect all the players. We were lucky against Tottenham, and Otamendi put his leg high against Kane, so you have to protect Harry Kane. Always we are aggressive and sometimes we get injured. All the teams want to win and want to fight in the best way. I have no doubts that Dele Ali and Harry Kane are top team players. I am not suspicious or thinking they are dangerous players but the most important thing is to protect the players. When it is a foul, it is a foul. Believe me, especially with Kevin, he could have been out for a long time."

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