Sadio Mané has expressed regret for colliding with Ederson’s face at Manchester City but insisted he would not change his playing style as a result of the red card it provoked.
Mané will miss Liverpool’s next three matches having been dismissed in Saturday’s 5-0 defeat and had an appeal against the length of his suspension rejected by the Football Association. He has apologised to the City goalkeeper for what he says was an accidental collision, one that forced Ederson off on a stretcher after eight minutes of treatment and required eight stitches to a gruesome facial injury.
The Liverpool striker is adamant he would not back out of another challenge with a goalkeeper. “I think the next time I will get the ball before him, I will do my best,” Mané said. “My intention was not to hurt the goalkeeper. It was bad and I wish him the recovery to come back healthy. I am happy for him that he could play again [against Feyenoord on Wednesday] and help his team.
“It is not what I wish. I think it was a challenge for the ball. I made contact and it was not what I wanted to do so I apologised to him. It is part of football and I cannot change anything. I don’t have his number so I just posted messages for him and I think he has seen them.”
Mané has scored three goals in four Premier League games this season but will miss Saturday’s home game against Burnley plus two trips to Leicester City, in the Carabao Cup and league next week.
“It is not easy for me because I always love to play football and to enjoy, especially to help my team to win games,” he said. “But we have a great team and great qualities and I think the boys can do it. I would love to be on the pitch all the time and help my team but I will also accept [the punishment] and try and be ready for my comeback.
“I was going for the ball. I didn’t have intention to hurt him because I am not that kind of player, so I wish him a quick recovery. I was focusing more on the goalkeeper than the card [after the collision] so when I saw the red card I was surprised because I was expecting maybe a yellow card. I will accept it and try to forget.”
Mané’s absence could be offset by the return of Philippe Coutinho. The Brazil playmaker was given a rousing reception when he appeared as a substitute in the Champions League draw against Sevilla on Wednesday, his first Liverpool appearance since pushing for a move to Barcelona.
Mané said: “It is always nice to welcome him back because he is one of our best players. He will not only help my game but I think he is a very important player for Liverpool and he will help us to get better and better.”
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010