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Pogatetz apologises for tackle on Possebon

Middlesbrough defender Emanuel Pogatetz has confirmed he is going to apologise to Manchester United midfielder Rodrigo Possebon for the tackle which saw the Brazilian teenager leave the pitch on a stretcher last night.

Possebon needed oxygen before he was taken off in the second half of United's 3-1 Carling Cup win over Middlesbrough following a studs-up challenge from the Boro captain.

Referee Andre Marriner showed the Austria international a straight red card after the incident which provoked a furious reaction from United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, who remonstrated with opposite number Gareth Southgate on the touchline.

"Firstly, I have to say that I went for the tackle because I thought I could win the ball - I now accept, however that I misjudged the challenge,'' Pogatetz told the club's official website.

"Immediately after the incident I did not think it was a red card offence because I did win the ball.

"But now I that I have had the chance to see the tackle on television, I know the ref was right to send me off.

"I am going to speak to Rodrigo by telephone and I will apologise for hurting him. I hope that he will make a quick recovery and that he will not be out for long.''

It was initially feared that the challenge had broken Possebon's leg but he was later given the all-clear after spending the night in hospital.

"We can confirm that Rodrigo did not suffer a break to his right leg,'' a United spokesperson told the club's official website.

"He was kept in hospital overnight for observation and to assess whether there was any ligament damage to his knee.''

Red Devils boss Sir Alex Ferguson was fuming: 'You don't want to see things like that and I hope I never see anything like it again,' said Ferguson. It is such a pity for the boy and took the gloss off what was a really good performance.

'The thing that gets me about challenges like that is that the opponent always claims he has done nothing wrong. He [Pogatetz] should have just walked off the field. Then you get their bench screaming that it wasn't a sending off and there is nothing wrong with our player.

'At least Gareth Southgate was very good about it. He apologised and understood the gravity. It was an absolutely terrible tackle.'

Southgate branded the challenge 'poor' and admitted members of his bench had stepped out of line.

'A couple of lads on our bench did not have the same view as I did but that is dealt with now,' said Southgate. ''We can have no complaints about the decision. It is difficult to know why it happened. It was an unusual aberration for him because his discipline has improved in the last two years.'

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