Wednesday 7th December 2005


Liverpool's Dietmar Hamann has branded Michael Essien's horror challenge in Tuesday's Champions League clash as the worst of his career. The Chelsea midfielder's knee-high tackle went unpunished, but Hamann says he was lucky to escape a broken leg in the goalless Group G encounter

"I was going for the ball and I think he came over the ball and caught me just below the knee. The referee didn't see it and you have to get on with it," said Hamann.

"It was the worst tackle I have ever been on the receiving end of. I really feared that I might have broken my leg, thankfully it is only bad bruising."

With German referee Herbet Fandel taking no action, UEFA may review footage of the incident and may still hit Essien with a suspension.

Hamann, to his credit, did not react to the incident in a Premiership-style game riddled with muscle.

"When things like that happen, what you must not do is allow yourself to be distracted, we were playing well and controlling the game and getting the result to win the group was crucial," said the Germany grafter.

"You have to get over these things and move on to the next match and make sure that we continue the run we are in."

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho claimed not to have seen the 22nd-minute challenge, but accused his Liverpool counterparts of overreacting to the tackle.

"I cannot give my version of it because I didn't see it," said Mourinho. "I was telling the Liverpool bench that they were crying all the game. They needed to sit down a little bit and relax.

"With me referees are always very strong and quick to put me in my place. But other managers can do what they want. For example if Jose Mourinho had done what Stuart Pearce did against Blackburn, it would have been a three-month ban for me."

The Editor