Liverpool winger Sadio Mane has vowed to ignore “clever” accusations of simulation against him by Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, adding that he will continue to play the same way he always has.
Guardiola came out with the comments in his post-match press conference last Saturday, moments after Senegal international Mane came up with a 94th-minute winner for the Reds to keep their lead at the top of the Premier League to six points.
Much of the discussion ahead of Sunday’s mammoth clash between the sides has centred around the comments – which Guardiola has since clarified – and now, Mane has come out with his response to the accusations.
Speaking to Sky Sports, the winger insisted that he will not change how he plays, saying: “If the ‘dive’ will give me a penalty then I will do it! Why not? But what Jurgen [Klopp] said is correct.
“I do not dive. There was contact [at Villa] for sure. Maybe it was not a penalty and he didn’t give it, and he gave me a yellow card. To be honest I don’t have any problem about it.
“It’s what I want to keep doing. If I get a penalty, yeah it’s a penalty. If no penalty, no penalty, but [it] will never change the way I’m playing or the way I’m doing my things. The only thing I can say I will be for sure ready for the team, to give everything possible, and to help my team.”
Mane added that he sees the comments as “positive” for his game, adding: “I think it’s a bit clever from him to get the attention of the referee but I will just play my football like I’m always doing.
“I don’t pay attention to what he’s saying because it’s part of football. No it doesn’t make anything [motivation-wise] for me. Even though I saw him commenting about it, what he said, for me, I think it’s positive.”
Liverpool can move nine points clear of City with a win on Sunday.