Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag complained about a lack of consistency from video assistant referees and insisted Casemiro was not the only player who should have been sent off during a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace at Old Trafford.
United’s Brazilian midfielder will serve a three-match ban after he was red-carded by referee Andre Marriner, who was sent to the monitor to review a second-half melee triggered by a clash between United winger Antony and Palace midfielder Jeffrey Schlupp.
United players reacted when Schlupp shoved Antony towards the perimeter boards, which Ten Hag said could have left his player “badly injured”.
Casemiro was caught with his hands round the neck of Palace midfielder Will Hughes, but Ten Hag felt visiting forward Jordan Ayew should also have been dismissed.
United’s 10 men held on to win the game — a result that moved them up to third in the Premier League. Bruno Fernandes had given them the lead from the penalty spot after a Hughes handball that was picked up by the VAR, before Marcus Rashford doubled their advantage.
Schlupp scored soon after Casemiro’s 70th-minute dismissal, but Palace could not force an equaliser. Ten Hag accepted Casemiro “crossed the line” but questioned why Ayew was not dismissed for grabbing Fred round the throat as well.
“I see two teams fighting each other,” said Ten Hag. “I see two teams where several players crossed the line and one player is picked out and gets sent off. For me that’s not right.
“When you freeze, Casemiro has crossed the line. But many more players are crossing the line. It’s about consistency.”
Ten Hag must do without midfielder Christian Eriksen for four months after he was injured in a tackle by Reading’s Andy Carroll last week that went unpunished.
“You don’t want to lose players when colleagues are hurting each other that bad like the player did last week against Christian Eriksen,” he said. “The player from Crystal Palace started this.
“Casemiro is protecting our player and also protecting the player who wants to attack. He is holding him back — he is protecting him. He doesn’t want to hurt the player.”
Asked if he felt Ayew should also have been sent off, Ten Hag said: “Definitely.”
Casemiro will now serve a three-match ban which covers two games against Leeds over the next eight days, plus the Premier League encounter with Leicester at Old Trafford on February 19.
It gives Ten Hag a personnel issue he could do without given Eriksen’s absence and the current injury to Scott McTominay.
However, he was happy his players defended each other in a sign of squad unity.
“This team stands for each other,” he said. “There is such a good spirit in the team and they don’t accept it when one of our players can be badly injured.”