Eddie Howe defends "gentle giant" Tyrone Mings

Mings received a five-game ban after being found guilty of stamping on the head of Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Eddie Howe, Bournemouth

Image: Martin Rickett/PA Archive/PA Images

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has defended Tyrone Mings following his five-match ban for a stamp on Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Mings and Ibrahimovic clashed last weekend during their 1-1 draw with United at Old Trafford and Howe today came to the defence of his player, insisting that the collision was accidental. 

"We are disappointed about Tyrone. We believe he is innocent of any charge," he said. "It was a pure accident from his perspective. I believe that, certainly through my reviews of the replay.

"He's hugely disappointed to miss five games at such a crucial period of the game. He's taking it as well as can be expected. When you've been out for such a long time with an injury, to then receive a suspension of this magnitude and miss more games is the most frustrating thing for him.

"From my dealings with him, throughout training, he might be a beast by stature but he really is a gentle giant. It's a real shame for him."

Immediately following the incident, the club released a statement to say it was "extremely disappointed" with the decision.

Howe again reiterated that he saw nothing in the challenge and that Mings' only focus was on the ball.

"Live, I didn't see any coming together like the replay showed. It's so difficult to see it at live speed. I see a defender make a tackle and try to get back to his goal as quick as he can. His focus is on the ball - not on what lies beneath him. 

"You can make any interpretation you want or see whatever you want to see. But people who understand the game to a really high level - and especially being a defender myself - will know your only priority is to defend your goal.

"We've looked at several options, but at the end of it, you just have to take the decision and move on."

Ibrahimovic was also banned for a separate incident, an elbow directed at Mings just before the half-time whistle