Steve Bruce was a little upset with the challenge that Leicester City midfielder Hamza Choudhury had on Matt Ritchie late in the first half last night. He felt it was a reckless challenge and deserving of a straight red card.
However, Choudhury ended up with just a yellow, but Brendan Rodgers would pull him from the game to start the second half.
This is what Steve Bruce said last night about the challenge:
“I have to say that the mess Matt Ritchie’s in, the referee is five yards away and I know there will be VAR tonight or whatever, it’s a horror challenge.
“I don’t want people sent off or red cards, but when I see the state of Matty’s leg – we fear ankle damage, he has three cuts which all need stitches, he is a mess and the referee if five yards away from that, which is difficult to take.
“I don’t want to see anyone sent off, but when it’s horror challenges like that, that wasn’t good.
“No wonder he didn’t come out for the second half.
“I didn’t have to see it back, I seen it there.
“It’s a horror one, it’s over the top. We haven’t got many angles on it, but believe me, it’s horrible.
“He has been stitched in three different wounds, and obviously we will have to wait for the scans to see if there is ankle damage, but the kid is in a mess.
“I never want to see anyone sent off, but when you are over the top of the ball, and you are lunging in like that, you can damage people and nobody wants to see that.”
Bruce was obviously reacting to the injuries his player has suffered. That made it all the more emotional for the coach. However, at no point did Bruce suggest that Choudhury meant any harm to Matt Ritchie. Bruce was pointing out that the challenge was a bad one that has injured his player.
Matt Ritchie– moments after Choudhury tackle
Leicestershire Live has published an explanation from Choudhury about his tackle and also his response to Steve Bruce.
Here is what Choudhury has said:
“It was a 50/50, and he has pulled out at the last minute which has made the tackle look a lot worse.
“I don’t know what I can say, it’s what I do, I try to tackle – I’ve never gone in trying to hurt someone.
“Unfortunately, for Ritchie it has, and I hope he gets better very soon.
“And for Steve Bruce to say – I know he was a tough-tackling defender in his day, so people are quick to forget how he played football.”
We do not think that Choudhury meant any harm to Matt Ritchie, though it was a rash tackle. He leapt at the ball with his studs showing and as Ritchie planted his right leg, Choudhury’s heel caught Ritchie’s ankle.
It doesn’t look like Ritchie pulled out of the challenge as Choudhury suggests. Ritchie just stayed on his feet as went after the ball, while Choudhury jumped in.
As far as Choudhury’s comments about Steve Bruce, it’s probably best to just wish Ritchie well. The tackle was a bad one, and the game has changed since Steve Bruce’s playing days.
Bruce also never said Choudhury showed any intent to harm. It was just a reckless tackle in which the players made contact at the worst possible moment for Matt Ritchie.