Saturday February 20 2021
De Zerbi: 'Hickey foul wasn't a red card'

Sassuolo coach Roberto De Zerbi did not believe Aaron Hickey should’ve been sent off for Bologna. ‘It would’ve been an open, entertaining game.’

It was an unusual match at the Mapei Stadium, as Bologna started aggressively and took the lead through Roberto Soriano after a poor Francesco Magnanelli back-pass.

Aaron Hickey saw red on 17 minutes for his late lunge on Mert Muldur, but other than the Francesco Caputo equaliser, there were no more goals.

“The game was affected by the red card, which I want to say, in my view was not a red card. Unfortunately, we too have paid for incidents like that with the rules as they currently are,” De Zerbi told DAZN.

“I am always honest, when it’s in our favour or against us. Anyone who has played football cannot think that is a red card offence. Hickey was late, but Muldur had prodded the ball away and that makes it look much worse. He was going for the ball and the ball had gone. It always looks worse on a replay or a still image, but it was a natural movement.

“If you look at everything that happened after that, we had 31 attempts on goal, but Bologna just defended, whereas with 11 men they would’ve attacked and caused us problems. It would’ve been an entertaining, open game.

“Where we need to improve is the final ball, the decision when combining with teammates, and some players who came off the bench didn’t have the right attitude, in my view.

“This generation unfortunately doesn’t call for the ball, they don’t talk to each other on the pitch and it’s something that ought to change. The older elements in the squad communicate more.

“When I talk about the final ball and the shot, I mean there was a lack of quality. On the other hand, these are our characteristics, we can’t just kick a long ball and hope Caputo can knock it down. We have to play with passing, quality and moving the ball around quickly.”