Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini insists he was not fortunate to escape a red card against Manchester City, and believes that Pablo Zabaleta “bounced” his jaw against his elbow.
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Fellaini, whose side were beaten 3-0 by their local rivals in the Manchester derby on Tuesday, says the first-half collision between the pair was a complete accident.
Referee Michael Oliver showed the Belgium international a yellow card, but Zabaleta said after the match that he believed both Fellaini and Danny Welbeck should have been sent off for fouls on him.
However, Fellaini is quoted in the Daily Mail as saying: "I don't know, but I certainly didn't do it on purpose.
"I put my arm up to try and protect possession of the ball, and Zabaleta bounced [his jaw] against it. He was unlucky to make contact.
"The movement by me was not in an aggressive manner. It was a defensive move to protect the ball."
As Oliver saw the incident and booked Fellaini, the Football Association will not take retrospective action against the midfielder.
United manager David Moyes said he did not think Fellaini had committed a foul at the time, but was later informed that it was more serious than he had first realised.
Moyes said in his postmatch news conference: “My first feeling is, I’m surprised it is a free kick, but by what I am hearing people are saying it could have been worse.”
Fellaini, who joined United from Everton for 27.5 million pounds in September, has been sent off once for the Red Devils after receiving his marching orders in the 0-0 Champions League draw against Real Sociedad on Nov. 5.