Pep Guardiola again calls for player protection from referees following De Bruyne injury in Palace stalemate

The Catalan coach once again for referees to "protect players" after his talisman Belgian suffered injury in the goalless draw at Selhurst Park.

Pep Guardiola again calls for player protection from referees following De Bruyne injury in Palace stalemate
Above: Kevin De Bruyne on the turf during the 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace | Photo: Getty Images/Catherine Ivill

Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola has once again called for referees to "protect players" after City's talismanic midfielder Kevin De Bruyne was stretchered off following a heavy tackle from Jason Puncheon in Sunday's 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace. 

We have to protect players 

De Bruyne has been the outstanding player in the Premier League this season and looked to continue his fine form at Selhurst Park on Sunday. Roy Hodgson's side looked to neutralise his threat but Puncheon opted to do it the hard way. 

Guardiola was given an early headache as Gabriel Jesus was taken off in tears after suffering a knee injury, and De Bruyne was taken off in injury time following Puncheon's heavy tackle. 

It is believed that the Belgian has gotten off lightly with Guardiola stating that he could only be out for Tuesday's clash with Watford.

But still the Cataln called for more protection from the officials following the 4-1 win over Tottenham Hotpsur where De Bruyne was also on the end of a heavy challenge from Dele Alli.

"Hopefully he [Gabriel Jesus] will be one month, maybe two months he will be out," Guardiola stated in his post-match press conference. "With Kevin we have been lucky in the past with what has happened from the same actions. I don’t know what will happen in the future." 

"Please, referees, they have to protect players," the Catalan coach proclaimed. "We were lucky against Tottenham and against Newcastle. Today we were not lucky."

"Referees have to protect. We know how strong physically it is England but teams miss big players, not just Manchester City," Guardiola added. "The replay speaks for itself. We have to protect players."

 

We set a record now we will try to beat it 

The Citizens have been coasting at the top of the Premier League and looked to extend their lead to 16 points over closest rivals Chelsea, their clash in Croydon also looked to equal Bayern Munich's European record of 19 consecutive league victories. 

That did come to an end and they almost lost their unbeaten run all together if not for the excellence of goalkeeper Ederson to save Luka Milivojević's penalty near the end.

Despite the fact that City managed to break the Premier League records for most consecutive victories, Guardiola stated that the only aim now is to break their own record. 

"We are going to lose games as players will get tired," he explained to the gathered press. "We have problems with [Benjamin] Mendy and other players, we just have to recover well and remain mentally strong." 

"That is normal in football," the coach stated. "Now we set a record in Premier League but the next one we will try to beat." 

"We are in December," Guardiola concluded. "There are lots of games to play."