(Reuters) - Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has urged Premier League referees to be more proactive in protecting players from dangerous tackles that could lead to serious injuries.
City’s Kevin de Bruyne and Raheem Sterling were at the receiving end of poorly-timed tackles during last weekend’s 4-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur while the hosts’ defender Nicolas Otamendi was also lucky not to get sent off.
Otamendi received a yellow card after striking Spurs striker Harry Kane in the face with a high boot, an offence that led to Liverpool forward Sadio Mane receiving a direct red card against City earlier this season.
”The main thing for the referees is to protect the players and follow the rules,“ Guardiola told British media. ”That is the most important thing. Always we are aggressive and sometimes we get injured.
”All the teams want to win and want to fight in the best way. Sometimes it happens. I have no doubts that Dele Ali and Harry Kane are top-team players. I am not suspicious about them, thinking they are dangerous players.
“But you have to protect them, the same as with Nicolas Otamendi and Harry Kane... The referees have to protect our players and the other players.”
City, who are on a 16-game winning streak in the league and 11 points clear at the top of the table, host 16th-placed Bournemouth later on Saturday.
Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly