LONDON, February 11 – Southampton manager Ronald Koeman thinks Victor Wanyama was unfortunate to be dismissed during Saturday’s 1-0 win over West Ham United.
Wanyama will now have to serve a five-game suspension, having received his third red card of the season.
Koeman concedes the midfielder will be a big loss but hopes he has the resources in his squad to cope.
The in-form Saints are seventh in the table ahead of Saturday’s trip to Swansea, having held on to beat the Hammers last weekend despite losing Wanyama after he scythed down Dimitri Payet early in the second half.
Koeman was critical of the challenge after the match, saying “you can’t make that tackle on that place of the pitch”.
However, he was in more forgiving mood at his Thursday press conference, pointing out that Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini escaped with a booking at Bournemouth on Sunday for what Koeman considered a comparable foul.
“I think Victor was a little bit unlucky,” said the Saints boss.
“I spoke to him. In my opinion that red card was totally different to the second yellow, for example, against Norwich. In my opinion that was more of a stupid foul.
“Now he was unlucky because his intention really was to play the ball. He missed the ball and the referee took a hard decision.
“Sometimes it’s maybe better to stay on your feet, than take the risk, because if you miss the ball it can look like a tough tackle. He’s still young and he will learn from this.
“One day later I saw a tackle from Flamini against Bournemouth and it was yellow. Maybe that tackle was more red than the tackle of Wanyama.
“You need to be lucky sometimes.”
Regarding the five-match ban, Koeman added: “Of course, very disappointed.
“First of all, for the player by himself, and also for the team, because he is an important, key player for the team, who is normally always in the line-up.
“He is suspended for five games and it is a long time but we have to accept and, like in other positions in the team, we have enough competition to replace Victor.”