Marco Silva criticizes referee Chris Kavanagh after Fulham’s FA Cup loss to Manchester United

Marco Silva said he should have controlled his emotions better in Fulham’s 3-1 FA Cup quarter-final loss to Manchester United but slammed referee Chris Kavanagh for a series of decisions against his side .

Kavanagh showed two red cards to Willian and Aleksandar Mitrovic in the second half after former handball player Jadon Sancho fired a shot down the line. This interference resulted in a penalty being awarded following a VAR check, while Mitrovic was subsequently sent off for shoving the referee as he protested the decision.

Silva was also sent off before Kavanagh reached the VAR monitor for his protests, and speaking after the game the Fulham head coach accepted the red card “if he had left his technical area”, but also questioned Kavanagh not only for two penalty calls which went against Fulham in the first half, but also for treating Fulham harshly in the past.

Silva said: “In all moments of matches we have to control our emotions. Of course we are human beings, but we have to understand the business and the game we are playing.

“If I’m out of my zone, and there’s a reason for him to give a red card, while he’s looking at the screen. I have to accept it. If I have to be in my zone, I have to control that.

On Kavanagh he said: “Our history with Chris Kavanagh has been really difficult for us as a football club. Before the game we didn’t say anything to the player. It’s the FA Cup quarter-final “Let’s do our best to play the FA Cup semi-finals. That was really our goal. We showed that for the 75 minutes. But they know who the referee is.

“They know the West Ham game away from home. When we lost the match with two handball goals. Clear handball goals. It was Chris Kavanagh at that time. This afternoon, everyone saw what happened in this match. It’s hard for them to research that stuff. We cannot waste time in this situation. I haven’t spoken with him.

“I want them fully focused on the game. It was a difficult moment. In this situation, I was the first to say that I had to be there and not in the gallery. To protect them and make decisions.

Kavanagh’s previous Fulham league game was their controversial 3-1 loss to West Ham United in October, where two West Ham goals went unscored despite handball fouls in the build-up. The official’s previous league game before that was Fulham’s 1-1 draw with Preston North End in the Championship in 2021-22, where Preston scored an equalizer which was also allowed to stand despite a handball in the preparation.

Silva felt Fulham had a strong case for a first-half penalty at Old Trafford.

“It’s obvious. It’s clear,” Silva said. “It’s a clear penalty on Mitrovic. Two players were isolated, there was no group of players (in the way). Luke Shaw clearly pushed Mitrovic. The referee is able to see it. The VAR in their office, of course.

The Fulham manager said Mitrovic will also need to control his emotions in games and said he doesn’t fear a lengthy ban for his push on Kavanagh. “I hope the people will decide with the fairness the moment deserves,” he added. “With a penalty and a red card, and the two moments in their box where Mitro was involved, and nobody checked, nobody cared about those situations.”

Silva also pointed out that he told full-time players he should have been on the sidelines “making decisions” after the incident. He praised their performance overall.

“Until 70 minutes we were brilliant, we dominated them, we were the best team on the pitch, coming here to play at Old Trafford,” Silva said. “We have clearly matched them up to this point. They haven’t created anything up to this moment. We were the best team.

“We have clearly matched them up to this point. They haven’t created anything up to this moment. We were the best team. It is difficult for us to accept these kinds of decisions. It’s a huge club, everyone knows that, great respect, but both teams must have the same conditions to stay in the competition. They can’t decide one way sometimes, because it’s Fulham or Man United, they decided completely differently in certain situations.

“The referee sometimes feels the pressure, because he’s there, like I feel, like Ten Hag can feel, like the players can feel. People from the office there (VAR), it’s really hard to say.Things that keep happening week after week.

Fulham will face Bournemouth in the Premier League on April 1 after the international break.


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(Photo: Getty Images)

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