Newcastle United’s Mapou has kept his focus

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NEWCASTLE United defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa’s kept his focus amid the furore over his tackle on Samir Nasri, according to Alan Pardew.

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini hit out at Yanga-Mbiwa after he caught Nasri with a reckless challenge during last weekend’s 2-0 home defeat.

Pellegrini claimed Yanga-Mbiwa – who has written to Nasri, his France team-mate, to apologise – should have been dismissed for the tackle, which left the forward facing eight weeks on the sidelines with knee ligament damage.

The challenge was just one of a number of talking points from an ill-tempered Premier League game.

“Apologising, the way he’s done it, is the right way to do it,” Pardew said.

“I don’t think it will affect him. He’ll be fine. He’s a strong character.

“Mapou’s sent a letter to Nasri. There was no malicious intent. He’s his fellow player in the national side.”

Pardew doesn’t feel the fall-out will affect Yanga-Mbiwa, who returned to the starting XI after Fabricio Coloccini suffered an injury against West Bromwich Albion on New Year’s Day.

“I think if you break a player’s leg, that’s different,” he said. “The player will be psychologically affected.

“No player goes out to hurt another one. In Mapou’s case, I don’t think that was the case.

“He genuinely tried to stop play. He did it in a robust way, and he’s got injured.”