Liverpool forward Sadio Mane has insisted that he will not change the way he plays after he was booked for simulation against Aston Villa.
The Senegalese forward was cautioned in the 37th minute last weekend after referee Jonathan Moss deemed their was insufficient contact with Villa defender Frédéric Guilbert to award a penalty.
That led to Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola stoking the fire before this weekend's clash heavyweight title clash at Anfield by claiming that Liverpool's players dive to win matches - comments he has since retracted.
Mane, though, claimed that Guardiola was simply attempting to raise the stakes, insisting that he pays no attention to what he says and instead focuses on playing his own game.
“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,” Mane said, in quotes carried by the Guardian. “I don’t pay attention to what he’s saying because it’s part of football. It doesn’t make anything for me. Even though I saw him commenting about it, what he said, for me, I think it’s positive."
Mane continued by insisting that he wouldn't change his approach to the game as he does not dive, maintaining there was sufficient contact for referee Moss to have to make a decision.
He continued: "If it could be a penalty for sure I will ‘dive’ again. If the dive will give me a penalty then I will do it to get it back. Why not? But what Jürgen said is correct. I do not dive.
“There was contact, for sure. Maybe it was not a penalty and he didn’t give it, and he gave me a yellow card. To be honest I don’t have any problem about it. For sure, it can happen in football 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. [I will keep doing] like I’m always doing. It’s what I want to keep doing. If I get a penalty, yeah it’s a penalty. If no penalty, no penalty, but [it will never] change the way I’m playing or the way I’m doing my things.”
The booking was Liverpool's first of the season for simulation, a statistic that, along with Guardiola's baiting, undoubtedly led to Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp launching a stern defence of Mane by insisting "Sadio is not a diver."
The warring bosses will look to settle their war of words on the field this weekend, as Liverpool look to stretch their lead ahead of City at the top of the Premier League table to nine points.
Source : 90min