Manchester United captain Harry Maguire has said that his apparent kick at Michy Batshuayi during his side’s Premier League clash with Chelsea on Monday night was unintentional. The United defender added that he was trying to stretch his leg when he caught the Belgian.
FutballNews reports that Maguire raised his boot up at Batshuayi in the first half of United’s 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge when he fell outside the pitch but escaped punishment after a VAR review. According to VAR, the incident did not constitute violent conduct and does not warrant a red card.
To make matter worse for Chelsea, the England defender later scored his first league goal of the season, heading home from Bruno Fernandes’ corner to give United a crucial three points in the race for Europe.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, Maguire said that the kick was just “a natural reaction” and did not deserve a red card. He admitted that he was very scared that he would be sent off as the VAR check was carried out.
He said: “I know I caught him but I felt like he was going to fall on me and my natural reaction was to try and hold him up,” Maguire said. “It wasn’t a kick out or anything like that, it was just a natural reaction to straighten my leg.
“I knew at the time I did catch him but I didn’t have any intent to hurt him or kick him. I’ve got studs on the ends of my boots so it probably makes it look a little bit worse, but I apologised to him and it was nice that the referee saw sense.”
Also speaking about the incident, Chelsea manager Frank Lampard insisted the United captain should have been shown a red card and sent off for the kick at the Belgian striker. The Blues boss added the decision not to send the defender him off changed the situation of the game and cost his side to lose points.
He said: “Harry Maguire should’ve got a red – then he scores the second goal and the game changes off that.
“That’s a major part of what VAR was brought in for. That one was wrong.
“I didn’t have a dialogue (with the fourth official) – I hadn’t seen it, so there was nothing to say.
“It was just the wrong decision. It’s harder to take with the presence of VAR. That’s the reason it was brought in for, love it or hate it.
“It was universally the wrong decision. It’s not my opinion. Everyone I’ve spoken to says the same thing.”
But Ole Gunnar Solskjaer disagreed with his Chelsea counterpart: “For me, I didn’t think two seconds about it at all,” he said.
“I think he was fouled, rolled over, seems like Batshuayi was gonna land on top of him and he puts his leg out to protect himself. It hurts when you get hit there! But I think he’s all right.”