Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Mings ‘jumped into my elbow’
Bournemouth player appeared to stamp on the Swede’s head before elbowing incident
Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Bournemouth’s Tyrone Mings are spoken to by referee Kevin Friend. Photo: Andrew Yates/Reuters
Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic claimed Tyrone Mings jumped “into my elbow” and the Bournemouth defender denied deliberately stamping on the Swedish star’s head during a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.
Ibrahimovic’s penalty miss and United’s inability to defeat a Cherries side that played 45 minutes with 10 men were overshadowed by incidents that resulted in no immediate punishment for either Ibrahimovic or Mings.
However the Football Association may apply retrospective action should referee Kevin Friend’s match report include references to those moments.
Mings stood on Ibrahimovic moments before the 35-year-old’s elbow struck the Bournemouth centre-back’s head. The second incident prompted Andrew Surman to shove Ibrahimovic over, resulting in his dismissal, once referee Friend eventually realised he was brandishing a second yellow card at the Bournemouth midfielder.
Surman may not be the only player to serve a suspension following this, yet both Ibrahimovic — who saw Artur Boruc save his 71st-minute penalty — and Mings denied intending to hurt the other.
“Listen, what happens on the field stays on the field,” Ibrahimovic told BBC Sport.
“I’m not someone who attacks someone off the field. You have the TV, you can see the images. I jump up and jump high and he (Mings) jumps into my elbow.
“It is not my intention to hurt someone. I didn’t know about the stamping on the head, if it was him it was him.”
Mings and Ibrahimovic clash
Mings also sought to absolve himself of any blame.
Asked by Sky Sports if he purposely stamped, Mings said: “Not at all, I would never do that. That’s not in my game. Hard and fair is how I like to tackle but off-the-ball stuff like that isn’t in my game.
“He (Ibrahimovic) is who he is, he’s a good player, he’s a physical player. I knew what sort of battle I was going to be in for coming here. And that’s what we had all day, it was a battle.
“There was maybe an elbow when the ball came in after, I didn’t see it, I felt it. But what happened after that with Surman getting sent off, I didn’t see it.”
However, pundit Thierry Henry suggested there was intent from Mings. And United captain Wayne Rooney, who was next to the pair when it occurred, believes the Bournemouth defender should be punished.
“I don’t think the referee saw Tyrone Mings try and stamp on Zlatan’s head,” Rooney said.
“To try and stamp on a player’s head is wrong, there’s no place for it. I’m sure there will be punishment after the game.”
It all detracted from what else happened at Old Trafford, where Marcos Rojo’s opener was cancelled out by Joshua King’s penalty after Phil Jones had fouled Marc Pugh. Boruc later saved Ibrahimovic’s spot-kick after Adam Smith was adjudged to have handled.
Unlike Rooney, United boss Jose Mourinho would not be drawn on Mings’ stamp, arguing instead that Friend “was very good” in correctly awarding the two penalties.
“Zlatan is a big man, like I am. Too many years in football,” Mourinho said.
“We are not the kind of generation that goes to the media and cries about what happened.
“We are from that generation of street football and football for big guys. So what happens, happens. Game over. What counts is the result and nothing else matters for us.”
The result ended a run of six straight wins in all competitions for United and represented a seventh home Premier League draw, with Bournemouth joining Burnley, Stoke and Hull in taking something from Old Trafford.
“The reality is that we are losing too many points at home,” Mourinho said.