Pep Guardiola calls for more protection for Manchester City stars from referees after Leroy Sane's injury against Cardiff

Pep Guardiola has begged referees to start doing their jobs by protecting players from dangerous tackles.

Guardiola was furious with Lee Mason after the treatment given to his Manchester City players by Cardiff City this afternoon, which saw Leroy Sane put out for up to a month with an ankle injury from a Joe Bennett tackle that only led to a yellow card. “Leroy will be out for a while, minimum two or three weeks, or one month. We will know exactly tomorrow.” Guardiola remonstrated with Mason at the final whistle and then said in his press conference that the officials had failed in their one most important job, to protect the players.

“I said many times: the only thing they have to do is protect the players. I can accept the [disallowed] second goal, that we didn’t score, I don’t know why, but I will accept it. But please protect the players. Not the Manchester City players, [all] the players.”

Guardiola was livid that Bennett had stayed on the pitch after injuring Sane, and was only sent off after another bad foul on Brahim Diaz at the end of the game. “The only thing they can do is that: protect the players. Or it will happen again, it will happen again. It happened once, it happened with Brahim again at the end. So please. For football in general, the players they are the artists, you have to take care of them. That’s why you are here and why I’m here. For them, the players. And the only thing they can do is protect them.”

Guardiola said that it was only a matter of time before a player was seriously injured by a bad tackle. He did not criticise Cardiff’s physical approach, but said the officials must do their job better. “Of course,” he said, when asked if a player would get injured. “Not my players, the players in general. Not just one. It was many. Then every team can play whatever he wants. If they decide to play in that way, perfect. But there is one man, in black, he has to decide what is correct, what isn’t correct.”

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But Guardiola was delighted with his players’ response to Cardiff’s provocation. “That’s why football is nice, everybody can play,” he said. “So Neil and their teams play in this way, like they did really well, marking to man, so aggressive, long balls. Again, no words to describe my pride about my players and my team.”

Warnock defended his Cardiff players. “They’re so quick, that’s the problem, with the movement and everything else, you think you’re there and all of a sudden he’s gone,” he said of Bennett’s foul on Sane. “[Guardiola] is in England, what do you expect? I suppose when you’re like that, you want everything to be nice, pretty and perfect, but you don’t get that here, you get different challenges.”

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