Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel is adamant that Liverpool forward Sadio Mane should have been sent off in the early stages of the 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge last night.
The Senegalese international caught Blues captain Cesar Azpilicueta with an elbow and Tuchel claims the officials should have given the 29-year-old his marching orders:
“I hate to say it because I love Mane and he is a nice guy and a top player, but it is a red card. The elbow is in the face – it doesn’t matter if you do this after 20 seconds or 20 minutes.”
Mane is known for leading with his arm when going into aerial challenges but there is a big question mark over whether it was a deliberate act on his part.
The forward is always aggressive when going up for the ball in the air, and he uses his arms for leverage, but it could be argued that his actions were endangering an opponent, even if he didn’t intend to injure Azpilicueta.
Mane has been in poor form recently but he ended a lengthy goal drought by getting on the scoresheet yesterday. Unfortunately, he will now be absent for the Reds’ next five matches as he is away at the African Cup of Nations.