Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher dissects the flashpoints from the weekend’s action, including Aleksandar Mitrovic’s red card as Fulham imploded against Manchester United in the FA Cup quarter-finals.
Man Utd 3-1 Fulham
INCIDENT: Aleksandar Mitrovic is sent off for pushing referee Chris Kavanagh during Fulham’s 3-1 loss to Manchester United at Old Trafford.
DERMOT’S VERDICT: “He had no option but to send him off.”
DERMOT SAYS: “You cannot manhandle a referee.
“We spoke the other week about Bruno Fernandes against Liverpool when I was of the opinion it wasn’t a red card offence, but I did say I don’t condone anyone touching a referee.
“However, in Mitrovic’s case, I think it is much more aggressive. He’s got hold of the ref and pulled him back. He’s been given a red card and what you saw after the red card was so aggressive and so nasty towards Chris Kavanagh, and that is why I think he has done an absolutely fantastic job for himself and referees in general because he kept his cool.
“He didn’t react to it or get sucked into it. He kept his composure and I really admire him. He stood up for what referees stand for.
“I said at the time that I didn’t condone what Fernandes did. I don’t think it is wise to touch a match official.
“However, I don’t think that is aggressive. It is petulant from Fernandes, and he could have easily been given a yellow card for that. People would have accepted that.
“I still don’t think the Fernandes incident is a red card offence, but the Mitrovic incident is.”
Asked if Mitrovic should receive an additional ban for his behaviour, Dermot said: “It’s not for me to decide.
“There is a process and it is for the FA to decide once they’ve seen Chris Kavanagh’s report, once they’ve seen the video.”
Mitrovic’s sending off – Have your say
A selection of your best comments discussing Mitrovic’s red card…
Bruno Fernandes clearly pushed an official against Liverpool and saw no action against him. Mitrovic was slightly more physical, but both players have handled officials. Where is the consistency in applying punishments?
As the referee’s decision was correct to award a penalty and send Willian off, why was Mitrovic so incensed? If it was contentious you could excuse it to a point but it wasn’t so he decided he could do what he likes and try to bully an official.
Everyone is comparing the Mitrovic red card with the Fernandes incident. Mitrovic is aggressive, shouting in the referee’s face, swearing and shoving him. Fernandes was more of a ‘I am going past you’ tap but let’s also acknowledge that the assistant referee had manhandled him first.
Mitrovic shouldn’t have reacted the way he did. It was a clear penalty and he’d no need to do that. Footballers need to start watching the rugby players to see how to accept a ref’s decision without any fuss.
Man Utd 3-1 Fulham
INCIDENT: Was Fulham forward Willian rightly sent off for handball which resulted in Manchester United’s penalty?
DERMOT’S VERDICT: “I thought it was handball.”
DERMOT SAYS: “Once the referee gives a penalty it has to be a red card because the ball is going in the net. He’s stopping a goal.
“The key decision is whether it is handball.
“He goes to the screen and gives handball. Once he gives handball, he’s got to send Willian off. That’s a given.”
INCIDENT: Fulham head coach Marco Silva was also sent off for his reaction on the touchline. What line has to be crossed for a referee to brandish a red card to a manager?
DERMOT SAYS: “We’re guessing and that is an area I’m not willing to go. The manager has encroached into an area where he’s not meant to go.
“The VAR is cordoned off and the referee can go and look at the monitor himself so that he’s under no pressure. Marco Silva definitely goes into that area but if he’s said something, I don’t know.
“Referees don’t give red cards willy-nilly so it must be something he’s done or said that has upset the referee.”
Nottingham Forest 1-2 Newcastle
INCIDENT: Newcastle head coach Eddie Howe was confused why Elliot Anderson’s goal against Nottingham Forest in the Premier League on Friday was ruled out for Sean Longstaff being offside in the build-up. Was this the correct decision?
DERMOT’S VERDICT: “I don’t know why the VAR got involved. The goal should have stood.”
DERMOT SAYS: “One of the biggest clues was that Nottingham Forest set to kick off and they were waiting to kick off again when there was the delay checking the goal.
“I don’t really see why the VAR got involved because for me, Felipe clearly goes to kick the ball out for a corner. Jacob Murphy, who isn’t in an offside position, behind him would intercept the ball and he knows that.
“If we go through the laws, has the ball travelled from distance? Definitely. Has the player had a clear view? Definitely. Was the ball moving quickly? Not particularly. Was the direction of the ball unexpected? It’s come to him, and he’s gone to intercept the ball. Has he had time to co-ordinate his body movement? He’s gone to kick it out for a corner, which you’d expect a defender to do in that position.
“It ticks all the boxes so for me it’s a goal.”
Stephen Warnock: “It should have stood. It was really bizarre why it even got to that point.”
Sue Smith: “I completely agree. I still don’t understand why it wasn’t given as a goal.”
Southampton 3-3 Tottenham
INCIDENT: Southampton were awarded a late penalty during Saturday’s 3-3 draw with Tottenham after Pape Sarr made contact with Ainsley Maitland-Niles in the box as he tried to clear the ball. Was there enough contact?
DERMOT’S VERDICT: “Sarr definitely does catch him.”
DERMOT SAYS: “With a light touch, it’s not as big a foul as we’ve seen this season, but he definitely catches him. What you would say in referee Simon Hooper’s defence is that he was very close.
“Maitland-Niles is very clever because he comes in and gets the ball, and the defender comes in behind him.
“Sarr doesn’t see him coming and he does catch him. The referee has a clear view and he will also hear the impact.”
Sue Smith: “I was really torn on this one. I don’t know if there was enough contact.
Stephen Warnock: “He’s given the referee a decision to make. It was clever of Maitland-Niles and there was slight contact.”
Wolves 2-4 Leeds
INCIDENT: Wolves defender Jonny was given a red card in the 4-2 loss to Leeds after referee Michael Salisbury was sent to the monitor.
DERMOT’S VERDICT: “It’s a good intervention from VAR”
DERMOT SAYS: “This is similar to the Casemiro red card the other week against Southampton where the player goes over the top of the ball and plants his studs into his shin.
“For me, it is a red card for Jonny and a good intervention to send the referee to the monitor. “
INCIDENT: Wolves were left fuming again in the second half. They felt Adama Traore should have been awarded a free-kick in the build-up to Leeds’ fourth goal. What did you make of that?
DERMOT’S VERDICT: “I think it is a foul and the referee should give it.”
DERMOT SAYS: “VAR intervenes correctly, and he’s sent to the screen. When I was watching it live I thought it was an opportunity for the referee to reverse his decision.
“He chose not to which is his prerogative, but I think a foul would have been a more acceptable decision.”
Motherwell 2-4 Rangers
INCIDENT: During Rangers’s win at Motherwell, there was a really tight call for a potential offside on Kevin van Veen’s opener. What are your thoughts on this?
DERMOT SAYS: “Look at the cut of grass. That is what gives it away. There is a defender at the top of the screen and that is who plays him onside.
INCIDENT: Motherwell were then unhappy with Rangers’ third goal in the game. Was Fashion Sakala offside?
DERMOT SAYS: “The optical illusion comes because people look at the body shape but the defender on the near side plays him onside.”
INCIDENT: There was a red card in this match as well. A second yellow for Callum Slattery for making contact with Todd Cantwell. Was this a bit harsh?
DERMOT SAYS: “This may well have been accumulation. He had a yellow card and committed another two or three fouls before this.
“The referee probably spoke to him and the next one he had to go.”
Celtic 3-1 Hibernian
INCIDENT: Hibernian went down to 10 players in their defeat at Celtic. Elie Youan caught Cameron Carter-Vickers but will he feel it was a bit harsh?
DERMOT SAYS: “This is a strange situation because Carter-Vickers goes to head the ball and he will say high boot.
“Is the attacker entitled to put his boot that high? Well, some would say Carter-Vickers is leaning down but how high does a boot have to be?
“It was a second yellow card, so it was a reckless challenge rather than a dangerous one.”