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Fulham manager Marco Silva questions referee Chris Kavanagh after FA Cup exit


arco Silva appeared to suggest referee Chris Kavanagh is still treating Fulham harshly, after Willian and Aleksandar Mitrovic and the manager were sent off in Fulham’s 3-1 FA Cup quarter-final loss to Manchester United.

Fulham led 1-0 at Old Trafford thanks to Mitrovic’s second-half goal and appeared to be heading for a first FA Cup semi-final in 21 years.

But Willian steered the line, was duly fired, and Silva and Mitrovic soon followed due to their forceful protests. Bruno Fernandes scored twice and Marcel Sabitzer also found the net as United overturned the tie to send off nine-man Fulham.

“On the pitch we were the best team up to that point,” Silva said after the game. “It’s hard for us to understand. Chris [Kavanagh] was in a game we played away at West Ham where we lost with two clear handballs. We received apologies for the errors.

“The last [FA Cup] game [against] Leeds in the FA Cup, it was him again. And for a match that is a quarter-final, it’s still him, it’s hard to understand. Of course we respect the fact that he is one of the best referees in this country, I accept that. But unfortunately for us, with us, it’s been really unfortunate this season.

Silva became the first Premier League manager to be suspended this season when he had to watch the FA Cup fourth round replay at Sunderland in February from the stands after receiving too many yellow cards for his impassioned admonitions over the sideline.

“Let’s talk about the whole match and not just a moment,” Silva said. “Until the moment of the penalty and the red cards, we were clearly the better team on the pitch. For me, it was a decision that VAR can make.

“What’s hard to understand is why the two moments in the box in the first half – one of them is a clear penalty and nobody checks – nobody sees.”

United manager Erik Ten Hag has praised the visitors at Old Trafford for breaking the deadlock thanks to Mitrovic, who was eventually fired.

He said: “Fulham are a good team and you have to be good to beat them. I think we had a good first half. We had great moments in the attacking transition and we should have been two or three goals clear.

“I don’t want to dwell on that,” he said of Fulham’s three red cards. “It was a great counter-attack but I think everyone saw it was handball.”

Sports standard

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