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Mar 21, 2013

Haidara feared for his career

Newcastle United defender Massadio Haidara has revealed he feared Callum McManaman's ugly tackle had ended his career and ruined his life.

• Blog: "He's not that kind of lad"

The 20-year-old Frenchman was left writhing in pain after being scythed down by McManaman's two-footed tackle in in the first half of Wigan's 2-1 victory over Newcastle. And the player and club feared for the worst, rushing the player back to Newcastle after the game to for further assessment.

But despite the full extent of the injury being unknown until next week, ESPN understands Haidara has escaped serious injury.

The club is still in the dark as to how long the recovery process will take. And after being given the good news, it did not take the former Nancy player to take his wrath out on the man who put him on the sidelines.

"It's tough to take. I don't understand why," Haidara told Le Parisien. "He could have ended my career and ruined my whole life and he will play again before me - ridiculous!

"You must protect players. This type of tackle cannot be condoned in football. You have to take all measures to ban these sorts of things from the game. It spoils the game. The authorities must take action.''

Haidara admitted he feared the worst immediately after the challenge in the first half of the Magpies' 2-1 defeat on Saturday.

He added: "At the time I was very angry. I thought he'd ended my career. Now I know I escaped a serious injury, I have taken time to stand back from it and I am not angry.

"I simply hope it will serve as a lesson for him and the next time he will think twice before making a tackle like that. I hope when he watched it back he told himself that wasn't who he really was.''

McManaman escaped both a caution and suspension from the match referee and the Football Association respectively, with the issue raising doubts about the procedures in place to protect players.

And Haidara agreed that more needs to be done to curb dangerous tackles in the game.

"We have to protect the players. I don't want to change the physical mentality, pace and commitment of football in England but we can't tolerate tackles like this," he said.

While McManaman will escape retrospective punishment, Newcastle assistant manager John Carver and Wigan assistant coach Graham Barrow have been charged with misconduct by the FA after they clashed following the incident. And Wigan chairman Dave Whelan sparked a war of words between the two clubs by claiming McManaman "got the ball clean as a whistle''.

Haidara added: "I understand he (Whelan) wants to defend his own player but I believe fairness and honesty must be respected.

"You simply need to see the images and photos to understand. People will have their own opinion, of course, and I don't wish to cause a controversy. I am simply relieved to have escaped the worst.''

Speaking about his prospective comeback, Haidara added: "I feel better but the medical team remains cautious.

"I don't want to rush back but, when I do get back, there will be a lot of apprehension, it's understandable. But I can't let this affect my mentality too much. I am quite strong mentally. I won't dwell on this too much. I'll get over it.''

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