Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola urged referees to “protect” players after Leroy Sane was injured during the FA Cup win at Cardiff City.
Guardiola’s side eased to a 2-0 win over the Championship club to reach the fifth round as Kevin de Bruyne and Raheem Sterling struck.
But Guardiola confirmed Sane could miss up to a month after Joe Bennett’s foul.
“For football in general players are the artists. The only thing they can do is protect them,” said Guardiola.
“Referees have to protect – not just mine, all players. Sane will be out for a while. Maybe two or three weeks, or a month, we will see tomorrow. It’s his ankle.
“I know my players, because it’s not just one, there was many. They decided to play in that way. There is one man who has to decide what is correct and what is incorrect. If he doesn’t anything can happen.”
Bennett was later sent off for a second yellow card after a challenge on Brahim Diaz but his foul on Sane drew scrutiny, with Match of the Day pundit Alan Shearer describing it as “nasty and high”, and BBC Radio 5 live’s Robbie Savage labelling the tackle “terrible”.
Germany’s official Twitter account contacted Cardiff shortly after the foul, urging Neil Warnock’s side not to “hurt” their international players – though the tweet was later deleted. In all, the Bluebirds committed 14 fouls in the 90 minutes, two more than the Premier League leaders.