x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Olympics: Ryan Giggs slams Senegal's physical approach

Great Britain left with injury worries ahead of Sunday's game with the UAE.

Great Britain's Aaron Ramsey, left, is tackled by Senegal's Papa Gueye.
Great Britain's Aaron Ramsey, left, is tackled by Senegal's Papa Gueye.

Ryan Giggs claimed Senegal’s Sadio Manu could have been sent off three times for the number of woeful challenges following last night’s 1-1 draw with Great Britain at the Olympics.

The British return to the men’s football tournament for the first time since 1960 turned flat when Moussa Konate struck eight minutes from time.

But Giggs was left fuming at the robust Senegal approach, which makes Craig Bellamy and Joe Allen doubtful for Sunday’s Wembley showdown with the UAE.

“There were a few naughty challenges in there and a few of our lads are probably struggling for Sunday now,” said Giggs.

“There was no consistency.

“Craig Bellamy got booked going in for a header and then there were some ridiculous challenges but you don’t even see a yellow card.

“I don’t know how many fouls the number 10 had but in a Premier League game he’d probably have been sent off three times.”

Staggeringly, Senegal coach Aliou Cisse claimed his players had done nothing wrong, turning quickly on his side’s detractors.

“From where I was sitting there was nothing in that (the Bellamy tackle),” he said.

“I know these boys very well and I know they would never do anything harsh.

“I am surprised at what people are saying, given this is Great Britain, where they talk so much about fighting spirit.

“I can’t say I saw a bad tackle on the pitch.”

The argument overshadowed what had been an enjoyable experience for a crowd in excess of 72,000, who thought they would be cheering Britain to victory once Bellamy had struck with a precise first-half volley.

Senegal deserved their equaliser though and coach Stuart Pearce knows there is a lot of work to cram into the next couple of days.

“It would have been nice to win the game,” said Pearce.

“There were one or two nervous faces in the dressing room before the match.

“Some elements of our play were very good, but there are others, including our movement of the ball, that we need to work on.”

Pearce confirmed he had no problem with Giggs and the other Welsh members of his squad opting not to sing God Save the Queen.

And he refused to be drawn into an argument over Gareth Bale, who was ruled out of Olympic duty due to a back injury but is now fit enough to play, and score, for Tottenham on their pre-season tour of the United States.

“I am delighted Gareth’s injury has mended itself quicker than he - or I - expected it would.”

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