Fulham boss Marco Silva implored onlookers to focus on the game as a whole rather than the moment that his team imploded against Manchester United in the FA Cup. The west Londoners manager received his marching orders in a wild 40-second period that also saw Willian and Aleksandar Mitrovic take an early walk down the tunnel.
Fulham had been in the driving seat at Old Trafford with Mitrovic giving the away side the lead towards the start of the second half. However, the visitors completely imploded in seconds after Willian’s goal-line handball.
Silva was first to receive his marching order as he interfered with referee Chris Kavanagh as he consulted the VAR monitor. Willian was then sent off for the initial incident before Mitrovic was also shown red for pushing the official in an angry reaction to the decision. The three reds all came in the space of 40-seconds with Fulham having to see out the game with nine men with United quickly making their numerical superiority count to run out 3-1 winners.
However, Silva was keen to try and take the focus away from the moments of madness, imploring onlookers to focus on the match as a whole.
Speaking to ITV, Silva said: “Let’s talk about all the game, not just about one moment. I think is fair enough with our team to talk about the game and not just one moment again. Until that moment penalty moment and the red card, we were clearly the best team on the pitch. Clear! We matched Man Utd and it was clear that we were the best team on the pitch.
“For me, it [the penalty] was a decision that VAR can take but what is difficult for us to understand is why the two moments in their box in the first half and one of them is a clear penalty on Mitrovic and no one checks or wants to see.”
Silva conceded that the match had been a missed opportunity for his side but much of his ire was directed entirely at referee Chris Kavanagh. The official has made a number of decisions against Fulham that have angered Silva this season and the 45-year-old was keen to highlight them after the match.
“On the pitch we were the best team until that moment,” he continued. “It’s difficult 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 the apology because of the mistakes.
“The last game at Leeds in the FA Cup it was him again. And for a game that is in the quarter-finals it’s him again, it’s difficult to understand. Of course we respect that he’s a top referee in this country, I accept that, but unfortunately for us with us he’s been really unhappy this season.”
Silva could now be set for an extended spell on in the stands having already been given one touchline ban this season with the moment almost certain to be included in Kavanagh’s post-match report.