(Reuters) - Manchester City’s attacking players have been “butchered” by dangerous tackles this season and officials must look to offer them more protection, winger Raheem Sterling said.
West Bromwich Albion winger Matt Phillips was booked for a wild tackle on midfielder Brahim Diaz in City’s 3-0 league win in midweek. It followed a caution for winger James McClean after his lunge on City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne.
Forward Leroy Sane was ruled out for at least six weeks with ankle ligament damage suffered in City’s 2-0 win at Cardiff City in the FA Cup fourth round last month.
“Some of the players are getting butchered out there and it’s sad to see,” Sterling said.
“There are going to be challenges that are badly timed and probably not all of them are intentional... but if it’s a dangerous tackle, it’s a dangerous tackle and the referees and officials need to cut these tackles out.
“I find it unfair at times. We haven’t been protected enough in certain situations.”
Sterling said that potential injuries resulting from poor challenges could lead to players missing the World Cup in Russia later this year.
“Majority of the players in the top flight and in our team will be playing in it and it would be sad to see someone miss the tournament due to a silly tackle,” he added.
Premier League leaders City travel to seventh-placed Burnley on Saturday.
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by John O'Brien