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Dublin: 2 °C Saturday 17 March, 2018

Zlatan insists kick to Seamus Coleman's head was unintentional

The Manchester United striker has attempted to play down his clash with the Ireland defender yesterday.

ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC HAS explained why he kicked Seamus Coleman in the head during Manchester United’s draw at Everton yesterday, insisting it wasn’t a deliberate incident.

The 35-year-old scored the visitors’ goal at Goodison Park with a brilliant first-half lob, but was frustrated when Leighton Baines claimed a point for Ronald Koeman’s side with a penalty one minute from time.

The match also saw Ibrahimovic involved in a heavy challenge with Everton defender Coleman — who later had to be substituted — and his foot made contact with the Republic of Ireland international’s head in the aftermath.

But Ibrahimovic has stressed there was no intent in what was a hard-fought battle on Merseyside, with the prospect of a retrospective ban looming large should the FA deem otherwise.

“They played hard and I heard one of the commentators say I kicked someone in the head on purpose,” Ibrahimovic told MUTV. “It was a 50/50 duel. He pulled me down and I tried to avoid touching him.”

The draw means United have only won two of their past 11 Premier League matches, a run Ibrahimovic knows is unacceptable if the club are to challenge for the title — or even make the top four.

“It was very disappointing obviously, because the last couple of games in the league have not had the outcome that we wanted, especially after a good performance,” added the striker.

“We controlled the game — not 100%, but most of it — and I think we did good until 70 minutes. Then I think we were not playing our normal game, we lost confidence and we lost the two points.

“The positive is we didn’t lose the match. That’s the positive. We know we need to win. You want to reach the Champions League and win the competition [the league title] and you need to get three points to do that. I would be more confident if we were higher up in the table because that’s what we play for.”

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