San Marino players have rejected Rasmus Hojlund’s claims they deliberately looked to injure him during Tuesday’s Euro 2024 qualifiers.
The Manchester United star opened the scoring as the Danes secured a narrow 2-1 win in San Marino to keep pace with Slovenia at the top of Group G.
But the result was overshadowed by controversy over San Marino’s treatment of Hojlund, with the striker complaining his opponents deliberately targeted him.
‘I feel they targeted me, as you can see at the end,’ the 20-year-old, who missed United’s first three matches of the season because of a back injury, told reporters after the match.
‘I understand Italian and I could hear them saying that they had the idea to crush me.’
Rasmus Hojlund claimed San Marino players deliberately tried to injure him
The Dane said he was targeted during Denmark’s 2-1 win in San Marino on Tuesday night
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San Marino defender Alessandro Tosi dismissed the claims, but conceded San Marino players were annoyed by Hojlund’s celebration.
The Dane shushed the San Marino defenders after putting his side ahead, a gesture which didn’t exactly win him any friends.
‘That’s not true,’ Tosi told reporters when asked about Hojlund’s claims.
‘We only told him that he was not behaving properly. What he did was not necessary. He is a very strong striker, but he was not fair at all.
‘I haven’t lost respect for him completely, but we expected better behaviour. His behaviour when celebrating was unacceptable.’
Tosi also suggested it was strange to hear a Premier League player complain about a physical approach.
‘Hojlund plays in a league against defenders who are far more skilled, physical and tougher than us, so he should be used to these kinds of duels,’ he said.
Denmark defender Simon Kjaer backed his teammate’s version of events and noted that some of the tackles were reminiscent of the one that saw Neymar break a vertebra at the 2014 World Cup.
Denmark defender Simon Kjaer said some of the tackles on Hojlund (left) were reminiscent of the one that saw Neymar break a vertebra at the 2014 World Cup
The Manchester United striker was on the end of some rough treatment from the defenders
But San Marino players rejected Hojlund’s claims they were deliberately trying to injure him
‘It wasn’t nice things they said [to Rasmus],’ he told Danish media.
‘They deliberately tried to hurt him. What was said, I still think should stay on the field. I don’t want to hang anyone out, but it wasn’t positive.’
Denmark boss Kasper Hjulmand, meanwhile, claimed San Marino players ‘did everything’ to hurt Hojlund.
‘They were really tough with Rasmus from the start. Some of my players who know Italian say that they did everything to hurt him.
‘I asked the fourth official to keep his eyes on Rasmus for five minutes to see how many times he was caught without the ball being around.’
The Dane had to wait over a month to make his United debut following his £72million move from Atalanta because of a back injury, making his first appearance for the club on September 1 against Arsenal.
Alessandro Tosi conceded San Marino players were annoyed by Hojlund’s celebration, as he appeared to silence his opponents after scoring the opening goal
In August, Mail Sport revealed an MRI scan conducted as part of the Danish striker’s medical showed a stress response hotspot in his back, which can be the start of stress fractures in young players.
The back problem was picked up during his medical which led to Hojland being sent for an MRI, although clubs seeking second opinions is not unusual in a transfer of that magnitude.
Medical sources outside the club however have told Mail Sport that such injuries require careful management.
Stress response hotspots are often suffered by athletes who have had a high workload at a young age, which is the case the Hojlund.
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