Ryan Giggs has condemned the tackling that left Joe Allen, Neil Taylor and Craig Bellamy nursing injuries after Team GB's 1-1 draw with Senegal at Old Trafford.
The robust approach angered the home camp, who were particularly aggrieved at the lack of protection offered by Uzbek referee Ravshan Irmatov. Bellamy was on the wrong end of an atrocious tackle by Saliou Ciss on the edge of the penalty area, while Sadio Mane was a regular transgressor.
"All you want is a bit of protection," said Giggs. "You don't want anyone to get sent off but there were a few naughty challenges in there and a few of our lads are probably struggling for Sunday now which is disappointing when you only have 18 players to choose from."
He added: "There was no consistency. Craig Bellamy got booked going in for a header and then there were some ridiculous challenges but you don't even see a yellow card. I don't know how many fouls the number 10 (Mane) had but in a Premier League game he'd probably have been sent off three times."
Senegal coach Aliou Cisse claimed his players had done nothing wrong, turning quickly on his side's detractors.
"From where I was sitting there was nothing in that (the Bellamy tackle)," he said. "I know these boys very well and I know they would never do anything harsh. I am surprised at what people are saying, given this is Great Britain, where they talk so much about fighting spirit. I can't say I saw a bad tackle on the pitch."
Coach Stuart Pearce adopted a phlegmatic stance, knowing there is nothing he could do to affect the game from his position on the touchline.
"I am not sure whether it (the foul on Bellamy) was in the box, but it was a foul," he said. "The referee didn't think it was. That is all that matters."
It wouldn't have mattered so much if GB had been able to maintain the advantage Bellamy gave them with a neat first-half volley. But when Moussa Konate struck eight minutes from time, it took the edge of what, up to that point, had been a very encouraging evening for a completely new team.
"It would have been nice to win the game," said Pearce. "There were one or two nervous faces in the dressing room before the match. Some elements of our play were very good, but there are others, including our movement of the ball, that we need to work on."