Ibrahimovic denies wrongdoing but apologises for ‘bad day’
The Swede and Tyrone Mings will find out on Monday if they are to be banned by the FA
Bournemouth’s Tyrone Mings is challenged by Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic during their Premier League draw at Old Trafford. Photo: Getty Images
Zlatan Ibrahimovic apologised for a “bad day” that will prove even more costly should the Manchester United striker face retrospective Football Association action.
A week on from his match-winning performance in the EFL Cup final, the 35-year-old was making headlines for the wrong reasons after ugly clashes and wasting the chance to turn a 1-1 draw against Bournemouth into a much-needed win.
Ibrahimovic’s penalty was saved by the impressive Artur Boruc and the striker could have been sent off after catching Tyrone Mings with an elbow shortly after the Cherries defender landed on the back of his head.
The striker denied wrongdoing but accepted complicity in United’s undercooked display.
“It was very disappointing,” Ibrahimovic said. “I take full responsibility for missing goals and missing the penalty. I have no problem with taking the blame. That is the game.
“I should have scored. We created a lot of chances. The penalty is the one I am most angry about. But I just have to keep my head up and continue to work hard and there is a new game on Thursday. Hopefully, we didn’t repeat what we did today.
“We had a great chance to get into the top four but we didn’t. The whole team are very disappointed.
“The opportunity will come. We just have to keep going and when we are there I think we will stay there.
“Last week we had a fantastic week and it could be the effect of that you saw here, maybe we were too confident, I don’t know.”
United’s tough day could worsen if Ibrahimovic is sanctioned.
The FA has been gathering all available footage of Saturday’s incidents as it waits for the referee’s report to arrive on Monday.
If the officials confirm they did not see the Ibrahimovic and Mings flare-ups, then the cases will go to the review panel that decides on not-seen incident.
Comprised of three ex-referees that do not confer or consult, they come back one-by-one with their decision with a unanimous view required for action to be taken.
“It is what it is,” Ibrahimovic said. “I am not a player who will stand here and blame a player. What happens on the field stays on the field.
“I can talk about my situation. I jumped straight up, he jumps in for me, I jump very high and protect myself at the same time as I always do and go for the ball.
“He jumps into me and jumps into my elbow. Hopefully he is not injured.
“Nothing on purpose. It had nothing to do with the situation before because I didn’t even know who had stepped on me. It is the game, the game is hard.”
Asked if he was worried about retrospective action, Ibrahimovic said: “I respect every decision. I am not here to attack anybody. My purpose was not to do that. The game is hard.”
Mings also denied wrongdoing after his collision with Ibrahimovic was labelled “disgraceful” by former England defender Jamie Carragher.
“It wasn’t intentional,” Mings said. “If there is reaction, there is reaction after.
“They have time to slow it down and look at it from different angles.
“When you are out there on the pitch you have to try and get back in and defend.
“I obviously didn’t mean it, but if there is reaction, there is reaction — everyone will have an opinion. That is football.”
The incidents and Andrew Surman’s sending off — once referee Kevin Friend realised he had dished out two bookings to the Bournemouth skipper — overshadowed a pulsating draw, bringing the Cherries’ four-match losing run to a timely halt.
“Hopefully it can be a catalyst,” Mings said.
“There is no point coming here and getting a result like that and not backing it up with any performances after so we need to play well in the remaining games of the season.”