Skip to content

De Jong debate upset Mancini

Image: De Jong: Divides opinion

Roberto Mancini is disappointed at the furore over Nigel de Jong's tackle on Hatem Ben Arfa.

City boss disappointed that Holland coach sparked tackle row

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has expressed his disappointment at the furore over Nigel de Jong's tackle on Hatem Ben Arfa. The Newcastle winger was on the receiving end of a robust sliding challenge by De Jong early in City's 2-1 win over the Magpies two weeks ago. Referee Martin Atkinson allowed play to continue, although after a lengthy stoppage, Ben Arfa was stretchered off with what was later confirmed as a double leg break. Newcastle registered an official complaint with the FA, who said there would be no retrospective action taken against De Jong. And the day after the game, Holland coach Bert van Marwijk chose to punish the tough-tackling midfielder by leaving him out of their Euro 2012 qualifiers against Moldova and Sweden.

Physical

Van Marwijk sparked a debate over tackling by branding De Jong's challenge a "wild and unnecessary offence", saying that the 25-year-old "needlessly looks to push the limit" with his physical style. His club boss has hit back, though, insisting Ben Arfa's injury is part and parcel of the game. "I am very disappointed with the people who spoke about Nigel de Jong's tackle," said Mancini. "I am sorry for Ben Arfa but these things happen in football. It was a normal tackle." It has been thought that De Jong may decline to play again for Holland while Van Marwijk is still in charge.
Still available
But Mancini is confident the former Ajax and Hamburg man, who has made 48 appearances for Holland and started the World Cup final, will continue to make himself available for international duty. "He was disappointed to be left out but this is normal," added the City boss. "But he is a Holland player and has always given 100 per cent for them. "I think he will try to get back in the Holland team." De Jong is set to stay in the City line-up for Sunday's trip to Blackpool.

Around Sky