Playing against Reds a mistake, says Sagna

Manchester City's Bacary Sagna (front) slips as Philippe Coutinho of Liverpool is poised to pounce during their Premier League match on Saturday. Following the 4-1 thrashing at the hands of the Reds, Sagna said he was wrong in assuming he was ready t
Manchester City's Bacary Sagna (front) slips as Philippe Coutinho of Liverpool is poised to pounce during their Premier League match on Saturday. Following the 4-1 thrashing at the hands of the Reds, Sagna said he was wrong in assuming he was ready to play after the terrorist attacks in Paris.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Bacary Sagna believes he should not have played in the 4-1 thrashing by Liverpool on Saturday, after claiming that his mind and body were drained by recurring thoughts of the Paris terrorist atrocities.

The Manchester City full-back had been part of the France team that faced Germany at the Stade de France while the attacks took place.

City were already missing Vincent Kompany, their influential captain, from their defence for the Premier League match.

Sagna believed that he was equipped to face Liverpool but said he quickly realised that was an error of judgment, with the defender never recovering from a mistake that led to City conceding the first of four goals at the Etihad Stadium.

City's other France defender, Eliaquim Mangala, an unused substitute in Paris, had turned the ball into his own net for Liverpool's opener during a similarly chastening performance.

But, while Sagna could not speak for his team-mate, the 32-year-old said he regretted playing.

"Mentally I was (ready to play), physically I believed I was but I wasn't," Sagna said. "I tired quite quickly and didn't have as much power as I usually do.

"Personally it's not my best week but it's life and there's nothing you can do about it. It was not easy to be part of that event (in Paris). I don't want to blame the team, I look at myself first and I was bad."

The fallout from the Paris attacks has affected Everton striker Romelu Lukaku too.

He is set to sever his connections with Molenbeek, the district of Brussels that became notorious in the wake of the terror attacks on Paris, because he no longer feels that his family will be safe there.

The Belgian admitted that he has been left with no option but to sell the Molenbeek property that he has used as a bolthole for the past six years.

"I live in Brussels and I live where the police are doing a lot of the things," he said.

"I have had an apartment in Molenbeek for six years and it is a nice neighbourhood But, with the things happening there, now it is a bit difficult.

"I never saw any trouble, but we are going to move as soon as possible. You just want your family to be safe."

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 24, 2015, with the headline 'Playing against Reds a mistake, says Sagna'. Print Edition | Subscribe