Liverpool believe comments from Pep Guardiola have had an impact on Sadio Mane, according to reports. The Manchester City boss labelled the player.
This comes from the Athletic. They claim that Liverpool fear Sadio Mane has a target on his back after Pep Guardiola called him out last season.
“Sometimes [Mane] is diving, sometimes he has this talent to score incredible goals in the last minute. He’s a talent,” Guardiola said last season.
Liverpool believe that accusation stuck on Mane and he may now have a reputation among officials.
The Athletic quotes a club source as saying ‘it’s just difficult for anyone to take when you get criticised for staying on your feet when you’re fouled and then criticised for going down when there’s clearly contact.’
Subscribe to Rousing The Kop TV now
Mane is having a poor season, of course, and Liverpool think this may have had an effect on the player.
What RTK has to say
To Guardiola’s partial credit, he did offer a half-apology for the comments shortly afterwards. But his accusation may have still stuck.
And it certainly felt that way against Real in midweek. There were several times in the second half where Mane didn’t get decisions that looks obvious from afar.
But is it all a reason for his poor form this season? We don’t think so. It will have a minor effect and is certainly infuriating if true.
Though Mane’s struggles feel far stronger than just not getting decisions. His running with the ball isn’t what it was, nor is he getting in the same positions.
The Athletic’s whole article is a fantastic run-down of Mane’s season, in fact. They go in depth on just how and why he’s playing poorly.
Needless to say, it has far more to do with his performances than decisions not going his way.