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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 July 2005, 17:02 GMT 18:02 UK
Strachan defends Balde challenge
Bobo Balde
Balde's challenge came five minutes before half-time
Celtic manager Gordon Strachan believes Bobo Balde's leg-breaking challenge on Leicester teenager James Wesolowski was an accident.

Balde's challenge led Leicester manager Craig Levein to say: "It was disgraceful, it was disgusting, it was malicious and it was intentional."

But Strachan, while expressing his concern for the player, insisted that there was no malice on Balde's part.

"Sometimes there can be accidents on the football field," he said.

"The referee has to decide if there is intent and I don't even think he gave a foul. He was the guy closest to it - not me or Craig Levein - and he decided there was no intent.

"There is a blame culture in this country. But you cannot blame someone for every incident.

"What we need to be concerned about is the lad and we are now hoping the lad gets back to full fitness because until that point he was having a good game, he was enjoying himself.

We won't know for a good few months whether the operation has been successful or not
Craig Levein

"We wish him all the best and I will try to get in touch with him as soon as I can but I have been out the country since eight hours after the game finished."

Levein was adamant that Balde's tackle was malicious.

"I will be very disappointed if we do not get an apology from Celtic and from Balde in due course," he said.

"That sort of thing has no place in the game. The tape is going to the FA."

Australian Wesolowski was taken to hospital where he underwent surgery to insert a pin in his shin.

Levein confirmed on the club's website: "The surgeon was happy with the way the operation has gone.

"But we won't know for a good few months whether it has been successful or not.

"Wesolowski is still in hospital and will be released on Friday. We don't know how long he will be out of action for yet.

"It is a case of monitoring his recuperation at the moment and seeing how that goes."




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Interview: Gordon Strachan


Interview: Craig Levein



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