Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas was sent off during the club’s pre-season friendly match against Liverpool at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena in the early hours of this morning, UK time.
The 29-year-old was issued with a straight red card by the referee following a terrible tackle on Liverpool’s new defensive signing Ragnar Klavan. The game was part of the International Champions Cup, which Chelsea are competing in as part of the club’s pre-season preparations. The Blues won 1-0 thanks to a Gary Cahill goal ten minutes into the game, but it was marred by some feisty tackles from both sides.
As well as the strong tackle from Fabregas on Klavan, Liverpool’s new signing Marko Grujic had to be taken to hospital with suspected concussion after a clash of heads with Chelsea’s Bertrand Traore as the game approached half-time. Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp said after the game, “The biggest problem for me in this moment is that Marko Grujic is in hospital, because he cannot remember anything. That’s not too cool. Hopefully it’s not too serious. Injuries after games like this in pre-season is the biggest problem”.
The Reds manager also confirmed that Fabregas had gone into the Liverpool dressing room after the game to apologise to Klavan for his robust challenge. Antonio Konte, Chelsea’s manager, also apologised for the tackle after the match but denied suggestions that it was intentional. He said, “I think that the fatigue sometimes can bring a player to go too late. I know Fabregas is a good man, a good boy and is not a player to have this type of situation. I’m sorry for him, I’m sorry for the Liverpool player”.
Conte was otherwise pleased with his side’s performance and the fitness levels of his squad on display against a Premier League rival. He said, “I was pleased with my team because I saw the right spirit and a lot of positive things, but I know and my players know that we can improve a lot. I am pleased with the attitude today and also that when we played with 10 men we didn’t suffer. Don’t forget we are working very hard with two training sessions every day and it is a good attitude. The most important thing today was to see the right spirit in my team and the will to fight to win a friendly game. This is the right way”.