Louis van Gaal defended Marouane Fellaini after his clash with Robert Huth and said only in sex masochism is what the Leicester man did allowed.
Manchester United at least temporarily stopped the Foxes from winning the Premier League title in a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford in which they took the lead through Anthony Martial only to concede a soft equaliser scored by Wes Morgan.
However, much of the post-match discussion of an entertaining game centred on several controversial refereeing decisions, one of which saw Fellaini escape punishment when, presumably out of Michael Oliver’s view, elbowed Huth after having his hair pulled.
The Belgian is likely to face a retrospective ban that could even bring an early end to his United career, but Van Gaal leapt to his player’s defence after the game.
Speaking to a BBC Sport reporter after the game, Van Gaal said: “When I grab your hair now, you will react also. Because it’s not in the books that someone has to grab with the hair and then pull it behind.
“Only in sex masochism. Then it is allowed.
“It was a very difficult match for the referee – when you see what Huth is doing with Fellaini, is that not a penalty?
“Every human being who is grabbed with their hair would react.”
Van Gaal, who also felt Danny Simpson could have been sent off for a tussle with Jesse Lingard, was at least pleased with United’s display.
“I think it’s one of our best performances this season, but we didn’t score the winning goal and we were so close, so it’s a big pity,” Van Gaal added. “They are very strong with set plays and we have to organise better.
“We are still in the [top four] race because Manchester City still have to play Southampton away.
“It could have [been a red card for Danny Simpson] because he was Danny Simpson and he was the last man, but it was not a heavy foul so I can understand why he didn’t give it.”
On the destination of the title, Van Gaal added: “For me Tottenham can also win – the best has to win. Tottenham has more points against us, but I think Leicester City deserves to win this championship. They have very good organisation, but we have a lot of chances.”