Newcastle defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa said he is relieved that Samir Nasri will miss only two months of football as a result of his cynical tackle on the Manchester City midfielder.
Yanga-Mbiwa, 24, was booked for a crude swipe from behind on Nasri with 15 minutes to go in City’s 2-0 win at Newcastle on Sunday.
Nasri, 26, had to be stretchered off and on Monday it was revealed that he would sit out up to 11 matches after damaging his medial knee ligament.
City manager Manuel Pellegrini felt that Yanga-Mbiwa’s rash challenge warranted a red card, while Nasri’s father accused the Newcastle player of deliberately trying to injure his son.
However, Yanga-Mbiwa told L’Equipe that the only thing on his mind had been trying to stop a fast break developing.
“He got the ball back and I simply wanted to prevent him from going forward -- to throw him off balance so that he would fall over,” he said.
“For the first tackle, he stayed on his feet and on the second, he fell over. But I definitely didn’t intend to hurt him... it was more a willingness to trip him up but there was no malice.”
Yanga-Mbiwa said that Nasri was receiving treatment when he tried to seek out the French international after the game.
The former Montpellier player managed to get Nasri’s number but he has so far been unable to make contact with him.
“I called him several times but there was no response,” Yanga-Mbiwa said. “I left him a message, I tried again today but I still haven’t got hold of him. I’ll try again because I’m keen to apologise. I was sorry.”
Yanga-Mbiwa, who was born in the Central African Republic but has been capped three times for France, was thankful to hear that Nasri’s injury was not more serious.
“When I heard that, I was relieved,” he told L’Equipe. “I was really annoyed by what happened.
“When I heard that he had maybe done his cruciate ligament, that he was in danger of missing the World Cup, I really felt for him.
“He is after all a player who plays for France and I know what that represents.”