Sunday 21 January 2018

Jose Mourinho hints that Shane Long was lucky to escape a red card after Marouane Fellani tackle

Southampton's Shane Long
Southampton's Shane Long
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has suggested his midfielder Maraoune Fellaini was ‘lucky’ to escape a serious injury after a lunging tackle from Southampton striker Shane Long in last Saturday’s Premier League game at St Mary’s Stadium.

United let it be known that they were ‘frustrated’ by Long’s tackle on Belgian midfielder Fellaini, which resulted in an ankle injury that rules him out of Wednesday’s Champions League game against CSKA Moscow.

With midfielders Paul Pogba and Michael Caraick already unavailable to United due to injury, the timing of Fellaini’s absence will frustrate Mourinho and he admits his options are now limited for the game in Russia.

While he confirmed he did not expect his midfielder to be a long-term absentee, he appeared to back up the theory that he was not pleased with Long’s tackle as he offered up these comments.

“Fellaini was lucky,” declared Mourinho, as he gave his verdict on the clash featuring the Ireland striker.

“It could be a much worse situation, but in a moment where we don't have Pogba and Carrick he becomes even more important than he always is. I expect Fellaini not to be out for a long time.”

Mourinho refused to criticise referee Craig Pawson for not sending off Long, as he suggested the official would have made a different decision if he could have looked at the incident on a video replay.

“There is no camera for Craig and he made that decision,” added Mourinho. “For me Craig Pawson is one of the big referee talents in England. He was so calm and in control, I think he had a great performance.”

Mourinho was also relieved that he will not face any further punishment from the Football Association after he was sent off for ‘encroaching on to the pitch’ in the final minutes of his side’s 1-0 win at Southampton.

“If I’m not punished, its because there were no reasons for the sending off and I’m happy I can do my work normally against Crystal Palace. That’s enough for me,” he added.

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