David Wagner accused Charlie Austin of intentionally kicking Jonas Lossl in the face during Huddersfield’s draw at St Mary’s yesterday afternoon. Austin collided with Lossl during the first half when chasing a loose ball, requiring Lossl to get lengthy treatment and sparking an angry reaction from Huddersfield players and fans.
Austin was not punished by referee Lee Probert, although the English Football Association could still examine it, and Wagner explained afterwards how unhappy he was with Austin.
“It was a very ugly, nasty challenge, this should never happen,” Wagner said. “There was so much distance from the goalkeeper and the ball, Jonas was so early on the ball. This should never happen. Unfortunately Charlie Austin made the wrong decision at the moment, and this happened.”
Wagner said that, having reviewed the video footage, he believed that Austin kicked Lossl in the face intentionally. “I have seen the video footage, and this should usually never happen,” he said. “The opponent hurts an opponent on purpose, even if I don’t like to say that, but it looks like it.”
Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino disputed Wagner’s interpretation.
“I don’t think that Charlie goes with bad intention in this moment,” he said. “It is part of football, football is a sport with a lot of contacts. I respect everybody’s opinion, but I did not observe bad intention.”
Regardless of whether Austin is banned, Pellegrino confirmed that the striker is likely to be out for “a couple of weeks minimum” with a hamstring injury he sustained in the second half, effectively rendering the prospect of a three-game ban irrelevant.
Pellegrino left Virgil van Dijk out of his matchday squad, with the Dutch centre-back still linked with January moves to Liverpool or Manchester City. Pellegrino confirmed afterwards that Van Dijk was not injured and that he made his decision for football reasons.
When asked if this was connected to transfer speculation, Pellegrino did not deny it. “There is a lot of speculation, we have to wait for what happens. I choose these players to play the best today.”
Huddersfield defender Mathias ‘Zanka’ Jorgensen had pledged to buy every travelling Terriers fan a pint for making the south coast trip. And the 1,581 hardy Huddersfield souls on hand at St Mary’s would have headed north satisfied with a hard-fought point, and an expectant thirst.