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Former Chelsea star Mikel offered apology from ex-Liverpool striker Crouch over Carling Cup challenge

18:26 BST 25/04/2022
John Obi Mikel Chelsea
The 41-year-old lunged two-footed at the former Super Eagles midfielder and the referee did not hesitate to send him off

Ex-England striker Peter Crouch has apologised for his tackle on former Nigeria midfielder John Obi Mikel, stating he deserved "three red cards".

The two former internationals met in the quarter-final of the League Cup when Chelsea hosted Liverpool on December 19, 2007. With the Blues leading 2-0, and due to frustration, the towering crouch lunged two-footed at the midfielder.

Referee Martin Atkinson had little hesitation sending him off amid protests by the player and his teammates.

"The worst tackle I ever did was on Obi Mikel. Liverpool against Chelsea in the Carling Cup," Crouch told BBC 5 Live Sport.

"The whole game I’ve been receiving balls and he’s been basically told to mark in front of me. So the centre-half is behind me, and him and, here.

"And [Mikel is] basically standing all over my toes and I’m trying to chest things away and he’s putting his head in my face and his elbows around me all game.

"I’ve been telling the [referee] all game, all game, all game and I’m getting nothing. We’re about 70 minutes in now and it’s been going on all game.

"And it’s happened again and the ball has broken off and another one of these elbows and things he’s done to me – the ball’s broken there just posted perfectly and he’s facing the stand and obviously I’ve switched, lost the plot and tried to take him out basically.

"But I’m not proud of this if he’s listening to this, which I think in no way he’ll be, John Obi Mikel I'd have to apologise because the red mist was that… It was like an out of body experience."

The 41-year-old has further revealed he felt Mikel had dived but changed his mind when he watched the replays.

"After the game, I thought he’d dived! Afterward, I got back, and I thought I’ll have a look back at that tackle. I had a look and I thought, oh no!. That’s in fact three red cards," Crouch continued.

"What on earth was I thinking? It’s just something that I can’t explain. He’d been winding up the entire game and now I just completely lost it."