Chico Flores and I must adapt to referees, says Swansea City boss Michael Laudrup
MICHAEL Laudrup admits Chico Flores will have to get used to referees in the English game — and that he must do the same.
Flores will miss Swansea City's next three matches after being sent off for a head-high challenge on Louis Saha during the 2-2 draw with Sunderland ten days ago.
Laudrup had initially suggested he could appeal against the centre-back's dismissal, but shelved the idea when it became clear Swansea had almost no chance of getting the decision overturned.
Yet Laudrup has reiterated his claim that he thought Flores, who has spent his career in Spain and Italy until this season, was unlucky to see red.
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And the Dane believes both he and his £2.5 million defender must learn about different interpretations from referees in the English game.
"I think if Chico made that challenge ten times, given the place where he was on the pitch, nine times he would get a yellow card with only one red," Laudrup said.
"He knows that he went high with his leg, but I know he did not do it to hurt the opponent.
"Chico is aggressive, but that is like a lot of the players over here.
"The picture I had of the Premier League before coming here was that a lot of things are allowed over here compared to Italy or Spain.
"The referees always want the game to be fluid here, whereas sometimes in the south of Europe there are a lot of whistles and stoppages. It's a little strange for me (to see Flores's red card). I am a little bit surprised."
Flores picked up a flurry of bookings at Real Mallorca last season, though he was not sent off during the campaign.
Since moving to the Premier League, he has gathered one yellow and one red — and was criticised in some quarters for another challenge in the Sunderland game which went unpunished.
Flores went in heavily on James McClean and, though he won the ball, was described as reckless by former Spurs boss Harry Redknapp.
"You have other things over here that are only a yellow card or maybe not even that," Laudrup added.
"Two players can be pushing or shoving or something. Sometimes in Spain you get a red card for a push.
"But over here the referee just says 'Hey boys, get on with it'.
"We have to adapt to this — I am still learning and so is Chico.
"Chico was shocked that he got sent off and then he was shocked again to get a three-game ban, because that's different too.
"We are all learning every day, and that's a good thing."
With Flores missing through suspension and Neil Taylor out for the rest of the season with an ankle injury, Laudrup has defensive questions to answer ahead of Saturday's trip to Aston Villa.
Alan Tate is favourite to start in central defence ahead of Kyle Bartley, while new recruit Dwight Tiendalli is likely to battle Ben Davies for the left-back jersey.