Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has criticised The FA and defended his player after Luis Suarez’s 10 match ban.
Speaking at the club’s training ground in his press conference ahead of Saturday’s trip to Newcastle, Rodgers said “The punishment is against the man, rather than the incident. We have a punishment with no intention of helping [his] rehabilitation.”
“We are shocked and bitterly disappointed,” said Rodgers. “It is the severity of the ban which has hurt most. That is something we are bitterly disappointed with.
“I can only compare [it] with similar incidents we have had. We have had two incidents of this type of scenario, both in 2006.”
“One player [Tottenham‘s Jermaine Defoe] received no ban and continued to be chosen by the FA as part of the England squad.
“The second player [Chester defender Sean Hessey] received a five-game ban. As you can imagine whenever Luis Suarez receives a 10-match ban it is very difficult for us to understand and even more so for him.
“If I had more players of a similar mentality we would be in a different position. He has not let me down one bit.
“The standard set by the club – he fell way below that at the weekend. But it does not mean he should be thrown to the garbage, which is what has happened over the last couple of days.”
“He has made a mistake and has got a sanction we don’t believe fits what he did.
“He loves this country and loves being here. If I’m Luis Suarez sat at home with his wife and family and his kid is loving life in Liverpool, it’s arguable he won’t have a better season but he has still had that scrutiny and criticism and that goes back to the punishment and the incident.
“It was too severe for what he’s done and that will make you think. At the moment there’s shock and anger but what he knows when he is a bit more reflective, a sense of reality will set in and he knows the club he’s at and the support he will get, from the management, from the players and the fans, and that will always make him think differently. At this moment he will feel low because of the sanction that’s been put on his action.
“Having spoken a lot to him, he is visibly very, very disappointed. I look in his face and for the first time I can see a genuine guy who is disappointed. It will take time for him to reflect and understand why others have never been punished.
“For us it is a case of supporting him. He is still very much part of our family and very much part of our future. He is very, very important for us going forward in order to succeed.”
When asked what length of ban he was hoping for, Rodgers replied: “I knew it was maybe going to be three games.
“It could have been 12 with six suspended. That shows and tells the player it’s unacceptable what he did and everyone knows that but you have to put the carrot in front of the player to help him improve his behaviour and help with the rehabilitation and this has only been punishment.
“There’s been no thought of rehabilitation unless something dramatic comes up in the report that tells me otherwise. It’s a straight 10 games.”
Quotes via BBC Sport