Sadio Mane sarcastically responds to 'clever' diving comments from Pep Guardiola
Senegalese forward has won two penalties in his last two home games for Liverpool but was cautioned for simulation against Aston Villa
Sadio Mane has vowed to carry on going to ground when he feels contact in the penalty box as he insisted he will not change his game or be distracted by Pep Guardiola’s “clever” comments, accusing him of diving.
The Manchester City manager retracted his initial remark, made on Saturday after he heard Liverpool had beaten Aston Villa 2-1 with an injury-time Mane winner, and underlined his admiration for the Senegalese winger.
Mane said he was flattered to be singled out for attention but was unworried by Guardiola’s intervention ahead of Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash between Liverpool and City.
“I think it's a bit clever from him to get the attention of the referee but I will just play my football like I'm always doing,” he said. “I don't pay attention to what he's saying because it's part of football. Even though I saw him commenting about it, what he said, for me, I think it's positive.”
Mane has won penalties in Liverpool’s last two home league games, against Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur, after challenges by Marc Albrighton and Serge Aurier, but was cautioned for simulation at Villa Park.
Jurgen Klopp came to his top scorer’s defence on Wednesday and Mane, using the word “dive” with more than a hint of sarcasm, said he will go down again when he feels he is fouled as he pledged not to change his approach.
“If it could be a penalty for sure I will 'dive' again," he said. “If the dive will give me a penalty then I will do it to get it back! Why not? But what Jurgen said is correct. I do not dive.
“If I get a penalty, yeah it's a penalty. If no penalty, no penalty, but [I will] never [do] anything wrong or change the way I'm playing or the way I'm doing my things.”
Mane refused to complain about referee Jonathan Moss’ decision to book him on Saturday but was adamant that Villa defender Frederic Guilbert had caught him.
“There was contact for sure,” he said. “Maybe it was not a penalty and he didn't give it, and he gave me a yellow card. I don't have any problem about it. For sure it can happen and we have seen many people, some diving and get penalties, some got a penalty and the referee didn't give it. That's football. You have to deal with it.”
City left Anfield with a 0-0 draw last year and beat Liverpool 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium in January, the only defeat Klopp’s team have suffered in their last 50 league matches.
“It will be very different because we learned a lot from our last games against City. We have been better this season," Mane said.
The former Southampton player is not worried nerves will be a factor for the Champions League winners as they look to establish a nine-point lead at the Premier League summit.
“It’s a big game,” he said. “Everybody knows and everybody's excited. We play every kind of game this last two years so I don't think the game will have any effect on us to be nervous. But it's an extra motivation for us to play against them, especially at home, and to do everything possible to win the game.”
Divock Origi, who stood in for Mane on the left in Tuesday’s 2-1 win over Genk, but who will probably be on the bench on Sunday, is relishing the competition for places in attack.
“I think the fact we have so much quality, I loved it because that is what helped us win the Champions League,” he said. “That is going to help us be successful.”
Updated: November 7, 2019 09:52 AM