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Mancini defends De Jong

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Nigel De Jong

Nigel De Jong

Nigel De Jong

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has called on referees to remain objective towards Holland midfielder Nigel de Jong.

The 25-year-old has faced criticism after his reckless tackle during Sunday's Barclays Premier League match at Eastlands left Newcastle forward Hatem Ben Arfa with a broken leg. De Jong was subsequently dropped from Bert van Marwijk's Holland squad for the Euro 2012 qualifiers against Moldova and Sweden.

"I am very saddened for Ben Arfa - he is an extraordinary player," said Mancini in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport.

"I hope he returns to play as soon as possible."

He added: "De Jong is forceful but also loyal.

"He goes hard but not with the intention of hurting anyone.

"Sunday's episode was just an incident of the game.

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"The referee saw it and he didn't even call a foul. I don't wish to enter into the decision made by the Dutch coach.

"I hope the referees will continue to evaluate De Jong objectively."


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