Zlatan Ibrahimovic has explained why he kicked Seamus Coleman in the head during Manchester United's draw at Everton, insisting it wasn't a deliberate incident.
The 35-year-old scored the visitors' goal at Goodison Park with a brilliant first-half lob, but was frustrated when Leighton Baines claimed a point for Ronald Koeman's side with a penalty one minute from time.
Sunday's match also saw Ibrahimovic involved in a heavy challenge with Everton defender Coleman - who later had to be substituted - and his foot made contact with the Republic of Ireland international's head in the aftermath.
But Ibrahimovic has stressed there was no intent in what was a hard-fought battle on Merseyside with the prospect of a retrospective ban looming large should the FA deem otherwise.
"They played hard and I heard one of the commentators say I kicked someone in the head on purpose," Ibrahimovic told MUTV.
"It was a 50-50 duel. He pulled me down and I tried to avoid touching him."
The draw means United have only won two of their past 11 Premier League matches, a run Ibrahimovic knows is unacceptable if the club are to challenge for the title - or even make the top four.
"It was very disappointing obviously, because the last couple of games in the league have not had the outcome that we wanted especially after a good performance," added the striker.
"We controlled the game, not 100 per cent, but most of it and I think we did good until 70 minutes. Then I think we were not playing our normal game, we lost confidence and we lost the two points.
"The positive is we didn't lose the match. That's the positive. We know we need to win. You want to reach the Champions League and win the competition [the league title] and you need to get three points to do that.
"I would be more confident if we were higher up in the table because that's what we play for."
In-form Ibrahimovic's goal was his sixth in five matches across all competitions, but the Sweden great would have sacrificed scoring if it meant United took all three points.
"I went for the run in the space and got a fantastic ball from [Anthony] Martial," added the former Paris Saint-Germain star.
"I saw the goalkeeper come out and I just tried to time it good and went to touch the ball. It hit the post, hit the bar and in the end it went in.
"I scored but in the end it only got me and the team one point. I would prefer not to score but win the game, that's my way of thinking. We have to fight more and do more to get the three points we need."