Stephen Warnock blasted West Ham playmaker Manuel Lanzini for holding his face when hitting the deck after being fouled by Watford’s Abdoulaye Doucoure on Saturday.
The pundit claimed it was a bit embarrassing for the Hammers 26-year-old to be clutching his face during the clash with Watford, as Doucoure only made contact with his foot.
Lanzini won the penalty in the third minute of the match, which Manuel Pellegrini’s side ended up building on in order to emerge from Vicarage Road with a 3-1 win.
“I was going to say exactly the same (ask why Lanzini is clutching his face),” said Warnock on Sky Sports’ Ref Watch (Sky Sports News, 11:55am, Monday, August 26th).
“That’s the disappointing thing, he hasn’t actually touched his face but he goes down clutching his face.
“And you’re thinking, that’s a bit embarrassing as we don’t need that in the game, if you want a penalty, fine go down, but hold your foot when you go down not your face.”
While Lanzini is a wonderful player who the Hammers are lucky to have, it’s hard not to agree with Warnock on this occasion. The pundit didn’t appear to contest the fact that Doucoure unfairly brought Lanzini down, but he clearly had an issue with the playmaker overacting after being fouled. Granted the penalty ended up helping the Hammers’ win, but you feel as it was such a clear-cut decision for the referee to make as Doucoure was really clumsy, Lanzini didn’t need to try and cheat his way to a penalty by claiming he’d been hit in the face. You have to hope that Pellegrini has a quiet word with the 26-year-old in order to knock such an ugly habit out of his game. Aside from that unsavoury moment, Lanzini has generally impressed so far this season. The creative midfielder has averaged 48.67 passes across his three league outings, already has one assist to his name and has been pulling his weight defensively as he has won 14 of his 23 duels (Source: Premier League).