Kenyan midfielder Wanyama was a teammate of Mane’s at Southampton, and he says that the forward thought there were certain players at the club who didn’t want him to score
Sadio Mane’s former Southampton teammate Victor Wanyama says that the now Liverpool forward thought that was deliberately not getting the ball when he played for the Saints.
Although he has now gone on to success at Anfield, Mane was seen as something of an inconsistent player during his two seasons on the south coast.
He scored 25 goals for the club in 75 appearances before making a £34million move to Liverpool in the summer of 2016, when the fee was questioned by some.
Wanyama played with Mane for those two seasons at St Mary’s, and says that they became close on and off the pitch.
“We were like a family under one father [Mauricio] Pochettino, but I and Mane forged a bigger brotherhood bond. [Morgan] Schneiderlin was also a great friend,” Wanyama told Madgoat TV, via Goal.com.
“At one point, Mane approached me and told me ‘Hi man, these guys do not want to pass the ball to me, can the two of us play closely? They don’t want me to score.’
“I reluctantly agreed and anytime I got the ball I would pass it to him though.
“I wanted to treat him right since he is a good and nice guy.”
Mane didn’t play under Pochettino at Southampton, with the Argentinean moving on to Tottenham shortly before he arrived.
Wanyama would eventually join him there, and these days is under the guidance of Thierry Henry at Montreal Impact.
He is in no doubt of Pochettino’s influence on his career though, and recalled when he came to watch him play for Celtic before signing him.
“Pochettino came and watched me in one of the games when we were playing against Motherwell,” he said.
“He came on a day I was playing as a centre-back due to injuries that had hit the team then.
“After the game, he pulled me aside and told me ‘How are you playing at centre-back? We thought you are a midfielder?’ and I replied that I am a midfielder indeed.
“Pochettino told me he was coming to buy me to help Southampton who were seriously struggling.”