Huddersfield boss David Wagner has accused Southampton striker Charlie Austin of deliberately kicking Terriers goalkeeper Jonas Lossl in the face during Saturday’s 1-1 Premier League draw at St Mary’s.
Wagner felt Austin kicked Lossl “on purpose”, leaving the Danish keeper with a bloodied face and suspected broken nose.
Austin, who struck his fifth goal in five starts before departing with a hamstring injury, avoided punishment for the incident during the contest, but could face a retrospective suspension from the Football Association.
“After seeing the video footage, this should usually never happen, that an opponent hurts another opponent on purpose,” Wagner said of Austin’s challenge on Lossl.
“I don’t like to say this, but it looks this way. Jonas as well was absolutely surprised. This was a nasty challenge and nothing I like to see.
“Jonas is OK, even if he doesn’t look OK.
“I think he looks like this challenge was very ugly and nasty. This should never happen. Charlie Austin made the wrong decision in this moment.
“I was very happy that Jonas was so calm, or maybe he was so surprised and had so much pain that he couldn’t react how me might otherwise.
“It’s swelling and of course he had a cut, but I don’t think he needs stitches.
“His wife will not be happy tonight with how he looks, but hopefully he’ll be available on Boxing Day.”
Laurent Depoitre’s third goal in as many games secured the visitors a share of the spoils, and left Saints with just one win in 10 league matches.
Home boss Mauricio Pellegrino defended Austin, insisting the former QPR frontman would not have attempted to hurt Lossl.
Pellegrino also confirmed Austin suffered a hamstring problem and will be sidelined for at least a fortnight.
When told Wagner had suggested Austin’s actions were deliberate, Pellegrino replied: “Yeah, OK, everybody will respect his opinion but I didn’t observe any intention on the part of my player.
“I don’t think Charlie went intentionally at this moment.”
On the injury, he said: “I think Austin will be out a couple of weeks minimum.”
Virgil van Dijk was omitted from Saints’ match-day squad entirely, as rumours continue of a January transfer to either Liverpool or Manchester City.
Pellegrino insisted those transfer links had not played a part in his decision to leave out the Holland defender, but accepted he can do little to stop such talk.
Asked why he had left out Van Dijk, Pellegrino replied: “I decided that was best for this moment. This is the reason.
“I am responsible for picking 11 players, and I intend to pick the best for the team.
“Around him will be a lot of speculation and we have to wait to see what happens.”
Asked if Van Dijk has already played his last game for Saints, Pellegrino added: “I don’t know. We’ll have to wait, but I will repeat, there will be a lot of speculation around him. We have to wait.”