DORTMUND (Germany) • Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho was livid after incurring an undisclosed fine from the German Football League (DFL) last week for breaching the country's restrictions to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
The DFL punished the England international and his teammate Manuel Akanji after photos emerged of the pair posing for photographs with the same hairdresser without wearing masks. Sancho took umbrage with the decision on Friday, calling it "an absolute joke".
Despite his row with the DFL, the 20-year-old was named in Dortmund's starting line-up as the hosts beat Hertha Berlin 1-0 at home on Saturday, courtesy of Emre Can's second-half winner, to ensure they remain seven points behind Bayern Munich with only four Bundesliga games left.
Former Liverpool midfielder Can has built a close relationship with Sancho since moving from Italian Serie A side Juventus in January.
However, the German international told Sky Sports his teammate needed to "grow up", especially as this was not the first time he had gotten into disciplinary trouble.
In October, Sancho was dropped for the home match against Borussia Monchengladbach and fined by Dortmund after reportedly returning back late from international duty with England. During the 2017-18 campaign, he was dropped to the Under-23s after arriving late for training on several occasions.
On the £100 million-rated (S$176.58 million) attacker, who is likely to be one of the most sought-after names when the transfer window opens, Can said: "Jadon needs a little guidance. He just has to be a little bit smarter about these things... He can't afford to make mistakes like that in the future.
"We as a team are also responsible. We are not annoyed by him. We know that he has to be more disciplined in some things. But he knows that too.
"I don't think he does this on purpose to create a scandal. Maybe he doesn't realise it, maybe he trusts too many people in some things. He needs people to guide him."
With Bayern needing just two more wins to secure their eighth successive league title, hopes are fading that Dortmund can pull off a miracle and coach Lucien Favre admitted as much at his post-match virtual press conference.
Hinting his side were instead concentrating on clinching a Champions League berth next season, he said: "It was very important to win the game. We have a seven-point lead on two teams (Monchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen, who are fourth and fifth respectively).
"But we continue to only look at ourselves."
Wolfsburg yesterday defeated hosts Werder Bremen 1-0 thanks to Wout Weghorst's header eight minutes from time. Werder remained second from bottom as their winless run at home in the German league was stretched to 13 games.
In the later game, Union Berlin and Schalke drew 1-1 in the German capital.