Pep Guardiola urged referees to give better protection to all Premier League players after Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne escaped a serious injury from a crude Jason Puncheon tackle on Sunday.
City were looking to catch Crystal Palace on the break late on in Sunday’s 0-0 draw, with Ederson saving a Luka Milivojevic penalty just a few moments earlier.
De Bruyne released the ball midway through the City half and was caught late by a very strong tackle by Puncheon, who injured himself in the process.
The Belgium international was initially carried off the pitch on a stretcher with his leg in a brace, but he was soon seen ambling down the touchline with the support of City’s medical staff.
And while it looks as though De Bruyne has avoided a potentially lengthy spell on the sidelines, Guardiola believes more should be done to protect players from unnecessary physicality.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) December 31, 2017
“We were lucky in the recent games, and today we will see,” Guardiola told reporters.
“It’s the same, I admire the physicality, but referees need to protect players. That’s all I ask. Hopefully it will not be bad [the injury].
“Not just the best players [need protecting], all the best players. Why would you protect just the players we like the most?
“People are talking about diving and about how they [the referees] need to focus on the diving, that’s okay. But not just Man City players, all the players of the league [need protecting].
“I know the contact is maybe more allowed here than any other country, that’s okay, but there are limits.
“We were lucky against Tottenham with Raz [Raheem Sterling] and Kevin, Newcastle with [Ilkay] Gundogan. And we will see [about De Bruyne].
“Maybe it’s just a huge kick, but maybe he will not be ready for the Watford game in two days. Protect all the players, please.”
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