Manchester City boss Mark Hughes insists there was no malice in Emmanuel Adebayor's controversial challenge on Robin van Persie at Eastlands on Saturday.
The Football Association are expected to come down hard on the Togo star, whose boot made contact with the side of Van Persie's face in what TV replays indicated was a deliberate stamp. Van Persie certainly thought so judging by the strength of a statement he issued on Saturday evening, within a couple of hours of the incident taking place.
But Hughes has defended his £25million forward, telling www.mcfc.co.uk: "Emmanuel Adebayor sustained a tremendous amount of personal abuse from the kick-off but strongly maintains that there was no malice intended in the challenge on Robin van Persie and apologised to him when he hugged him on leaving the field of play at the end of the game."
Much will now depend on the view provided to the FA by referee Mark Clattenburg.
As the official did not blow for a free-kick at the time, it is widely assumed Clattenburg will confirm he did not see either Van Persie's initial poor tackle, or what followed from Adebayor afterwards.
However, as Hughes felt Clattenburg was in an excellent position to see exactly what happened and took no action at the time, he is not sure why that should change now.
"The referee had a great view of the challenge from Ade and the one that preceded it by Van Persie and deemed at the time that neither were worthy of either a yellow or red card," he said.
"There has been much discussion over the weekend regarding the various incidents in Saturday's game which is understandable.
"We expect high standards of behaviour from our players and it is easy in the cold light of day, when the adrenalin has died down, to talk about what players should and shouldn't do in that situation.
"Ade again immediately apologised but we know the FA will be reviewing the matter."
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