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Erik ten Hag bemoaned a lack of consistency in refereeing decisions after he was left frustrated by the performance of Anthony Taylor in Manchester United’s draw with Southampton on Sunday.
United could only scrape a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford after Casemiro was shown a straight red card in the first half – the Brazilian given his marching orders for a tough challenge on Carlos Alcaraz.
Taylor initially showed Casemiro a yellow card, but it was upgraded to a red following a VAR review, leaving the United midfielder clearly despondent after replays showed he won the ball before catching Alcaraz.
It means Casemiro is the first United player to receive two red cards in a single Premier League season since Nemanja Vidic in 2013-14, and he will serve a ban of four matches rather than three due to it being his second dismissal.
The tackle was not too dissimilar to an incident on Saturday when Ricardo Pereira caught Joao Felix with his studs and escaped punishment entirely, and this is the crux of Ten Hag’s frustration, having also seen a couple of penalty appeals fall on deaf ears.
“What I think is the inconsistency; players don’t know anymore what is the policy, and I think it’s all across [every competition],” Ten Hag told reporters.
“We see it with the Premier League yesterday: Leicester-Chelsea, the VAR is not coming online. Today, it’s coming online.
“And then it’s two penalty situations, but they don’t come online. Especially the first one, it was clear and obvious handball, so what is the policy?”
Ten Hag was asked if he sought that clarification from Taylor afterwards, though he was seemingly dissatisfied with the outcome.
2 – Casemiro is the first player to receive two red cards in a single Premier League season for Manchester United since Nemanja Vidic in 2013-14. Orders. pic.twitter.com/bpMjVbyen7
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 12, 2023
“Of course, we talk but not a lot, so some questions we [still] have,” he continued.
“There’s another one: inconsistent. The referee is coming in the start of the season with a policy; we are [in the] Premier League, it’s coming strong here, we want intensity [in the play].”
Ten Hag also feels the slow-motion and freeze-frame nature of VAR reviews does not help because he believes it makes everything look worse than in reality.
“Everyone who knows something about football, and of course, when you freeze it, it looks bad,” Ten Hag said. “But everyone who knows something about football, who was acting on top football, they know what is bad, what isn’t bad and what is fair.
“And I tell you: Casemiro is a really fair player. Tough but fair.
“Casemiro is across European games, over 500 games he never had a [straight] red card. Now he has two.
“Think about that. He plays tough, but he plays fair. And also in this, he’s playing fair, same as against Crystal Palace, so it’s very debatable.
“And if they isolate one [incident] – it’s a little bit the same as against Crystal Palace, definitely.
“When you saw that incident, you should have sent off three or four players and not only one [Casemiro], if you’re really consistent.”