Neymar has said that he did not lose his head after being shown the first red card of his Paris Saint-Germain career during the feisty 2-2 Ligue 1 draw with Marseille on Sunday.
“The supporters threw a lot of things at me, even baguettes. It was too much, that’s not football,” Neymar is quoted as saying. “I didn’t lose my cool. I accept my mistake. Marseille were good, but we were below-par.
“We can play much better. The pitch was dry and long. We need to get used to it: our opponents will try everything against us.”
The drama of Edinson Cavani’s 93rd-minute leveller from a free kick was still underplayed by that of Neymar’s dismissal, with PSG boss Unai Emery laying the blame with the referee.
“We’re a little bit disappointed by the sending-off because he was fouled a lot throughout the game,” Emery is quoted as saying by L’Equipe. “I think the referee also needs to think in a good way. We have to protect the players.
“I think the yellow card was not fair for Neymar. He’s a player who wants to play, but if he is subjected to provocation, aggression in every game… I think the big players have to be protected and that goes for both teams.”
PSG forward Kylian Mbappe saw his first yellow card of the campaign — and only the third of his bright career — for contesting the decision not to award the visitors a penalty when Jordan Amavi handled early in the second half.
“We don’t want to play the victim, but there were a lot of things that happened in the game that tripped us up,” he is quoted as saying by SFR Sport. “I’m talking about the penalty in particular. I don’t want to put it all on the referee either, there was a lot of pressure on his shoulders. I am saying that for the league’s progress.
“We have a league that is beginning to attract big players. We’re starting to see more competitive teams in Europe, the Europa League… Teams are going further in European competition. Even the teams at the bottom of the table are a lot better. The referees have to get up to standard.
“The problem today was that he wasn’t up to scratch. Perhaps we weren’t either, but we at least deserve credit for acknowledging it. We can’t talk to them. You get the impression that they’re superior to us. It’s a problem. We’re both part of the same show. We want to put on a good show for people.
“There were two good teams, and the problem is that we can’t speak to the referee. It’s a little problem, but I think there is a commission that can resolve it. Today we had a player sent off, and the referee made a mistake. Why can’t the referees be punished like us players can?”
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