Ten Hag takes swipe at referee who ‘influenced the game’ in showing Casemiro red card

Erik ten Hag, Manchester United, March 2023

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag felt his side’s draw with Southampton was “influenced by the referee” as Casemiro was sent off for the second time this season.

Following a fantastic period of results, United’s pace has begun to slow of late. The 7-0 drubbing at the hands of rivals Liverpool last weekend halted their charge on the top two.

A win against bottom-placed side Southampton this weekend would have picked that back up and put United nine points behind second-placed Manchester City – by no means a small gap, but still some hope of catching up.

For a side that’s won more games than any side other than City and Arsenal – who occupy top spot – another would’ve been expected.

Especially after Ten Hag’s side got back to winning ways by defeating Real Betis 4-1 in the Europa League in midweek.

However, United failed to show the cutting edge they have done for most of the season against the Saints. After 90 minutes, neither side had managed to break the deadlock.

Insult in the form of a Casemiro red card was added to the injury of United being held 0-0 by the league’s bottom side. The Brazilian has already been suspended on two separate occasions this term and will now spend another four games on the sideline.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, Ten Hag said: “His absence is not the issue. We will deal with that. This game was influenced by the referee.”

Ten hag questions officiating

Ten Hag appeared to question the officiating in England, adding the context of Casemiro’s disciplinary record before he came to United compared to now.

“Casemiro played over 500 games in Europe and never once got a red card. Now he has two in the Premier League,” Ten Hag added.

The United boss also posed that his side should have had a penalty for a suspected handball.

“Definitely. There’s no doubt. I don’t know why VAR didn’t interrupt,” he said.

United showed character despite red card

Ten Hag did compliment his side for their ability to get on with the game with only 10 men.

“Big compliments to the team. They showed big character to play so long with 10. They were physically and mentally strong to get a point,” he said.

The problem now, though, will be the lack of depth in the midfield. Christian Eriksen, Marcel Sabitzer and Donny van de Beek are all injured and Casemiro is set for a four-game suspended spell as this is his second red of the season.

That leaves Scott McTominay and Fred as the only senior holding midfield options.

United have an FA Cup quarter final soon, before facing sixth-placed Premier League side Newcastle United. Those games could be a struggle without a full compliment in midfield.

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