Ex-referee blasts Kevin Friend over Ibrahimovic-Mings fiasco

5 March 2017 20:55

Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Tyrone Mings should face retrospective action for their conduct in the draw between Manchester United and Bournemouth, according to former Premier League referee Keith Hackett, who described match official Kevin Friend as “like a rabbit in the headlights” at Old Trafford.

Clashes between the two players escaped notice in the match, with Mings appearing to step on Ibrahimovic’s head before being caught by an elbow from the United forward, while Friend also awarded two penalties and initially failed to realise he had booked Andrew Surman twice before eventually dismissing the Bournemouth player after an awkward delay.

And Hackett was heavily critical of Friend’s “almost sleeping” display, ranking it as the worst refereeing performance of the season in England’s top flight.

“Kevin Friend was like a rabbit in the headlights at Manchester United on Saturday and it was the worst refereeing performance in the Premier League this season, or even for some time,” he wrote in a column for the Telegraph.

“I will be absolutely gobsmacked if Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Tyrone Mings are not charged retrospectively but you cannot possibly ignore how poorly Friend performed in that game.

“Ultimately, the referees are paid to get these big decisions right and to control the proceedings but he was almost sleeping, allowing things to go.

“When that happens, the authority and respect goes and the players decide to start looking after themselves. That’s exactly what happened.”

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