Aleksandar Mitrovic may have accepted a charge for violent conduct and a three-game ban for his elbow on West Ham’s Manuel Lanzini last month, but the 22-year old has surprisingly defended himself, insisting he did ‘nothing wrong’ and does not understand why he has been punished, claiming it was not even a foul.
Mitrovic says elbow on Lanzini 'not even a foul' 'didn't mean to elbow Lanzini' & can't understand why he's banned ??pic.twitter.com/HknY6FG34L
— Goal Adviser (@GoalAdviser) September 8, 2017
The Serbian discussed the incident after his countries vital World Cup win over Ciaran Clark’s Republic of Ireland, admitting his surprise at being charged:
“It is very frustrating for me, but I can’t change anything now,”
“These are the rules, but I didn’t mean to do this, the things they have accused me of. It wasn’t even a foul in the game, but I have to accept the rules and respect the decision that has been made.
“I didn’t mean it, it wasn’t even a foul, I have three or four incidents like this every match so I don’t understand it.
If I say something more, though, they can punish me even more. I just have to take this on the chin and make sure I stay as fit as possible so that I can help the team when I return.
“I don’t know what they said [on Match of the Day], I have no idea, but I’ve been banned for three games and I was really surprised.
“It has been really tough to get my head around it. It was an accident. I spoke to Lanzini after the game and he was fine.
I would love to defend Mitrovic – who can be be targeted, receiving some unfair stick at times – however he has shown real naivety suggesting this ‘wasn’t even a foul’.
He then commented on his frustration ahead of his thee-game ban, admitting it will be hard for him to keep focused, with the ban set to halt the his progress after two goals in his last two NUFC games:
“It is going to be very hard to miss these games, I had a good pre-season, I’ve scored two goals already, it is very hard for my head to stay focused and strong. That’s life. That’s football, I have to try and look forward.”
Mitrovic’s honesty and naivety are loveable, to an extent, however he has shot himself in the foot here and only has himself to blame unfortunately.
Hopefully he can learn from his mistakes and begin to eradicate these moments of madness from his game, but given he is adamant the Lanzini incident ‘was not even a foul’, it makes you doubt that he’ll learn his lesson.