PEP GUARDIOLA must have felt like calling the police after some of these tackles.
Yet NONE of the X-rated challenges on his Manchester City players pictured here was deemed worthy of a red card.
The Etihad chief has been scratching his head at some of the refereeing since he arrived in England 18 months ago.
But right now he is fuming.
He believes his players are being targeted by opponents — and are getting no protection.
Looking at some of these pictures from the 3-0 win over West Brom on Wednesday, he may have a point.
Former Premier League ref Mark Halsey certainly thinks so.
Guardiola warned after the FA Cup victory at Cardiff about the need to “protect the artists”, having just lost Leroy Sane for two months following Joe Bennett’s horror tackle.
Yet his words made little difference judging by what went on in the second half of the clash with the Baggies.
James McClean’s scything challenge on Kevin De Bruyne and Matt Phillips’ wild lunge on Brahim Diaz both only earned a yellow card.
The injury list is growing and threatens to undermine City’s chances of winning the Quadruple this season.
City’s top brass met yesterday to discuss whether there is anything they can do to stop it.
And two of Guardiola’s midfield stars spoke up to urge refs to do their jobs and dish out the correct punishment.
Bernardo Silva said: “The referees have to do their job and if it’s a red card, they have to give the red card.
“They are not doing that over the last few months.
“The way other teams are tackling our players, it’s not part of the game. It’s not fair play and they have to punish the players that play this way.
“We’ve seen with Leroy it was a terrible accident and now he’s injured for two months.
“Against West Brom, it could have been Brahim, it could have been Kevin on the second goal.”
Former Monaco ace Silva added: “France is really physical, maybe even a little bit more than here. What you have here is the referees let you play a little bit more so the game is more intense.”
De Bruyne admitted he was unaware how bad McClean’s tackle on him had been — until he watched it back.
He actually avoided it and scored in the same move but admitted: “I didn’t know the tackle was like that, I’ve just seen it.
“Let’s just say the ball was not in the neighbourhood.
“The referee told me he didn’t touch me good enough to get the red card but I told him, ‘I saw the guy, I was jumping’.”
Belgian ace De Bruyne has been on the wrong end of several poor tackles yet has largely come through unscathed.
And his performances have been so good, it must be hard for opponents — Alan Pardew said he felt like giving some of his players a cuddle on Wednesday.
De Bruyne said: “Are teams getting frustrated? Sometimes it gets frustrating for us.
“A lot of teams are making a lot of fouls against us.
“We make a foul, we get a yellow card.
“I don’t know how it is possible sometimes.”
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