Two Wolves key players have been suspended, as Gary O’Neil warns his players about recent officiating guidelines

Gary O’Neil believes that recent officiating guidelines are leading to an increase in bookings and has cautioned his Wolves players to avoid unnecessary suspensions. Mario Lemina and Nelson Semedo will be absent from the upcoming Premier League match against Bournemouth due to suspensions. Additionally, Lemina is just one yellow card away from facing another one-game ban, while Joao Gomes is two bookings away from a suspension of his own.

Referees have become stricter in penalizing actions such as time-wasting and kicking the ball away, resulting in more yellow cards being issued. O’Neil is working with his team to help them avoid avoidable cautions.

He commented, “The reason behind these bookings can vary, with some disappointing ones that we discuss, while others are inevitable due to the way the modern game is officiated. Adapting to the new rules and guidelines means that things Mario used to get away with for a decade have suddenly become unacceptable. He’s trying to adjust to this new reality.”

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O’Neil isn’t surprised and believes that across the league, the number of yellow cards has likely increased. He expressed his desire not to lose key players like Mario, Nelson, and Joao to suspensions, stating, “We want to minimize the avoidable ones, and the players are well aware of the new guidelines. We’re working to adapt as quickly as possible, while still maintaining our competitiveness on the field.”

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Lemina’s recent booking against Manchester City was for unnecessarily kicking the ball away, and O’Neil emphasized that these types of actions can and should be avoided. He stressed the importance of controlling emotions, which can be challenging but is essential to keep all players available for matches.

Lemina’s first yellow card against Aston Villa had already put him on five bookings, making him eligible for suspension in the Bournemouth game. However, he received a second yellow card in that game, leading to his ejection. He will now miss the Bournemouth match and return with four yellow cards, needing just one more to face another suspension.

O’Neil expressed his disappointment, saying, “It is disappointing. I can’t remember the Nelson one, but Mario’s second one, he’s in a tough spot at that point. We went pressing when we shouldn’t have, and Mario had to decide whether to let Villa continue a dangerous attack or commit a foul. Given that he was already on a yellow card, the better decision would have been to let them attack, and Mario understands that. But we’re disappointed because both Nelson and Mario have been valuable for us at the start of the season, and we’re disappointed to miss them both against Bournemouth.”

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