Friday 24 November 2017

Dropped Mane pays price for 'unacceptable' late arrival

Southampton midfielder Sadio Mane was relegated to the bench for his side's defeat to Liverpool. Photo: GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images
Southampton midfielder Sadio Mane was relegated to the bench for his side's defeat to Liverpool. Photo: GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images

Jonathan Liew

Ronald Koeman has revealed that Sadio Mane was dropped from the Southampton starting line-up against Liverpool because the winger turned up half an hour late.

The squad were due to assemble at 1.0 for a pre-match meal before the fixture, which kicked off at 4.15. Mane's late arrival led to relegation to the bench, and he was not introduced until the 57th minute in a game that Southampton lost 2-0.

"He was too late," Koeman said. "He was 25-30 minutes too late for the pre-match. We have rules, instructions with the players.

"Everybody can be late one day in the morning, but you can't be late at 1.0 when you have to play against Liverpool. I can't and I don't accept that."

Displeased

Koeman was also displeased at referee Kevin Friend, who turned down at least two Southampton-penalty appeals, and also appeared to miss a handball outside the penalty area by the Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.

It was the second penalty incident, when Joe Allen brought down Filip Djuricic, that particularly annoyed Koeman, who joined other Premier League managers in calling for video technology to be used for contentious decisions.

"I don't understand the referee," he said. "But okay, human people can do mistakes.

"The fourth referee can do much more than he does in the Premier League. He's watching the game like the people in the stands. I think he can help the referee much more. And technology is a big help for referees in a difficult situation."

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers turned his ire on the editors of the Southampton match programme for failing to recognise the service of Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert, both of whom left for Anfield in the summer.

Lallana and Dejan Lovren, who went in the same direction, were both booed by the home fans, although Lambert was given a warm reception.

"I was a bit disappointed for (Lallana)," Rodgers said. "He was captain here, gave incredible service to Southampton and could have left a number of times and didn't. To get the reception he did was disappointing.

"No mention for Lambert as well. Those two guys gave their heart and soul to Southampton and were big supporters of this club.

"They've moved to one of the biggest clubs in the world. It was a massive decision for them to come to Liverpool. But nothing here. For me that's a wee bit sad."

There was also, tangentially, a football match to discuss, and Rodgers paid tribute to his side after a fifth consecutive away clean sheet in the league - the first for Liverpool since 1985.

"It's the new defensive coach we brought in that everyone thought we needed," joshed Rodgers, who resisted calls to bring in a defensive coach earlier in the season.

Jordan Henderson went further, the midfielder describing Liverpool's win as "the perfect performance".

Southampton, meanwhile, played out a third consecutive home game without scoring, although Koeman was reasonably pleased with their display.

"Up to half-time we played very good football. Then it's difficult, with Liverpool defending well. We know we have been struggling in the last few games to score goals.

"Maybe that's down to the confidence of the players. But (I am) not disappointed about the performance," he said.

Southampton's next game is against West Brom on Saturday.

In case Mane happens to be reading this, kick-off is at 3.0. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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