Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has called for referees to ensure top players are given 'equal protection.'

The Portuguese coach bemoaned the tactics enforced by both Yeovil and Huddersfield in an attempt to deal with new signing Alexis Sanchez.

But he also appeared to aim a subtle dig at Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola, who has repeatedly called for better treatment of his star players.


"Maybe his manager needs to cry a little bit more," Mourinho said of Sanchez - quoted by the Manchester Evening News.

"I feel that English football has some cultural heritage, tradition, and there are some qualities I really like in the game.

"But I have to cry a little bit, I have to try to protect my players because, really, you can see the way Alexis was welcomed!

"Yes, he's a tough boy, he's a pure guy. He copes with that, and at Yeovil too in difficult conditions with some bad tackles like against Huddersfield, and the referees have just to... I don't like the word protect the players because it looks like they have to protect only the top players - and I think on the pitch every player is the same."

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He added: "They can't look at a player and say this guy is very talented so I have to protect him. No, they have to protect them equally.

"They know the rules and if the cards come, the referee will be in control of it. What do you want the defenders to do? To let the top players play with freedom? I think it's the nature of the game that the more you fear the more you target.

"You fear the most talented players so it's normal there will be an approach with those players. But for the referees, every player must be treated the same and according to the rules.

"The red card comes, the yellow card comes, the second yellow card comes - we don't need managers to be speaking about this when it's an obvious thing that the referees must take care of it, which I think they try to do."