Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola calls for action over heavy tackles

Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola calls for action

Pep Guardiola has suggested English football needs to act to protect players after a thrilling goalless draw at Crystal Palace was marred by some heavy challenges, most notably a tackle from Jason Puncheon on Kevin De Bruyne that resulted in the Premier League’s outstanding player this season being taken off on a stretcher.

De Bruyne may have been fortunate to escape serious injury, with suggestions he might miss only the home game against Watford on Tuesday night, but the Manchester City manager emphasised his issue is not with English football’s physicality but its policing of contact. “I admire the physicality of the league, but they [the FA] know exactly what they have to do,” Guardiola said. “People focus on diving and this kind of thing, and that’s OK.

“But the contact is more allowed here than other countries, and that’s OK too, but there are limits. We were lucky against Tottenham [with injuries] and against Newcastle and today we saw what happened.

“They don’t have to change the way they play here – that’s why it is so nice, they play in different ways in different countries. But there is a line and when you go beyond that it can be dangerous. The referee has to follow the rules but also protect the players.

“The football is quicker and the action is great, the players don’t want to hurt each other but there are moments, and then players can be out for a long time.”




Guardiola confirmed Gabriel Jesus is out for at least a month with a knee injury he sustained early in the first half, and which reduced the Brazilian to tears, but said that did not mean City would make a move for Alexis Sánchez in January having come close to signing the Arsenal forward during the summer.

“No, he is a player from Arsenal and I think he is going to stay there,” said the Catalan. “Now it’s just about recovering from injuries and in two days we have another game. We will discuss what is the best in internal meeting but my feeling now is Sánchez will remain an Arsenal player.”

Guardiola also batted away suggestions City could go unbeaten for the rest of the season having seen their winning run come to an end. “We had an 18-match run, that is not normal, it’s unreal. I swear to you, that is not going to happen. I’m not thinking about being invincible. I told Arsène, that brand is for him.”

Roy Hodgson was quietly satisfied with Palace’s performance and refused to dwell on Luka Milivojevic’s missed penalty in the closing stages.

“It’s frustrating but it was a good save. It’s better to concentrate on our performance and how well we played,” the manager said. “I have to give the players an enormous pat on the back for how they played. To be brutally honest with five minutes to go I was thinking make sure we don’t lose the game.”

Hodgson also had words of praise for Wilfried Zaha’s performance on both wings, which featured a fine and engrossing duel with Kyle Walker in the first half before Zaha switched to the right for a while: “Kyle is very fast so there was an element of them neutralising each other. We thought it was an idea to switch him over but it wasn’t exactly a masterstroke. It was the kind of tactical decision my wife would make.

Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola calls for action over heavy tackles

“Wilf was very good. He puts in one excellent performance after another and the question for me with a bit of cynicism given how long I’ve been involved in the game is how long he can keep it going? It amazes me. I hope he can keep going.”

Hodgson refused to reveal what he had said to Guardiola when they sat in the same dugout for a short period while De Bruyne and Puncheon received treatment following their collision. The Palace player was also taken off on a stretcher and was somewhat fortunate to be shown only a yellow card by the referee, Jonathan Moss.

“We have mutual respect for each other. We talked about the game and what we thought about the season,” said Hodgson about his conversation with Guardiola. “We don’t often get that chance to talk after the game because we’re busy speaking to you lot.”

Source: theguradian

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