Espanyol aim to play down Wakaso's racist allegations

The Ghanaian midfielder had accused officials in Spain of treating him unfairly because of the colour of his skin but the club have moved quickly to smooth over his comments
Espanyol coach Mauricio Pochettino has said midfielder Mubarak Wakaso spoke “with his heart and not his head” when accusing referees of booking him because of his colour.

Wakaso, 22, who joined the Catalan club from Villarreal in the summer, has picked up eight yellow cards and one red in 10 La Liga matches this season and spoke out against the Spanish referees, who he believes are biased against black players.

"I am sorry to say, but referees draw cards based on the colour of your skin," said Wakaso.

However, Pochettino told reporters on Friday that, after speaking to the winger, he now knows he was wrong to make the racist allegations.

“You can't accuse the whole refereeing body of this [racism] and he knows that. He spoke with his heart and not his head,” said the Argentine.

"He was trying to come to terms with what has been going on. He is a combative player, but he is honest and when you explain things he understands. He lives life to the limit on and off the pitch."

This is the latest of a number of racism incidents that have hit world football over the past year and comes just weeks after Chelsea midfielder Jon Obi Mikel accused referee Mark Clattenburg of making racist remarks towards him.

The FA investigated the incident, which happened in the aftermath of Manchester United’s 3-2 victory at Stamford Bridge, and have since cleared Clattenburg of any racist abuse.

Meanwhile, things have gone from bad to worse for Espanyol boss Pochettino, after his side were beaten 2-0 at home by Getafe on Sunday to stay rooted to the bottom of La Liga table.