Casemiro ‘must adapt approach’ as Manchester United midfielder handed four-game ban for latest red card

Casemiro ‘must adapt approach’ as Manchester United midfielder handed four-game ban for latest red card

Graham Poll has rubbished suggestions that Casemiro is being unfairly targeted by Premier League referees after getting sent off again for Manchester United at the weekend.

The Brazilian midfielder received his marching orders for the second time in just five weeks during the first half of Sunday’s goalless draw with relegation-battling Southampton at Old Trafford, leaving the field in tears and being consoled by team-mates after being shown a straight red card by official Anthony Taylor for a bad challenge on Saints counterpart Carlos Alcaraz.

Casemiro will now serve a four-match domestic suspension that will rule him out of the upcoming FA Cup quarter-final meeting with Fulham, as well as further top-flight matches against Newcastle, Brentford and Everton.

Though he remains available for selection in Europe, with United travelling to Real Betis with a 3-1 lead for the second leg of their Europa League last-16 tie on Thursday night, the former Real Madrid star will not be eligible to play again domestically as things stand until the trip to Nottingham Forest on April 15.

Being without such an influential player is a major blow for Erik ten Hag as his Carabao Cup winners continue to fight on three fronts for further success this term, albeit sitting third and trailing leaders Arsenal by 16 points in the Premier League table, particularly with fellow midfielder Christian Eriksen already sidelined with a serious ankle injury. Donny van de Beek is out for the season and Bayern Munich loanee Marcel Sabitzer has also been dealing with a knock of late.

Seeing red: Casemiro was sent off again for Manchester United against Southampton (Getty Images)
Seeing red: Casemiro was sent off again for Manchester United against Southampton (Getty Images)

Casemiro’s first red card came in the fiery 2-1 win over Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on February 4, when he was dismissed by referee Andre Marriner for grabbing Will Hughes by the neck during an ugly 20-man brawl. It was the first time he had ever been sent off in Europe’s major leagues, having never received an early bath in nine years with Madrid.

As well as serving an initial three-game ban for that red, the 31-year-old was also automatically suspended for the defeat by Arsenal at the Emirates in January for accruing five yellow cards. He has nine cautions in total so far this season, 11 including international duty with Brazil.

After the draw with Southampton, a frustrated Ten Hag said the game had been “influenced” by the referee as he bemoaned Casemiro’s latest dismissal.

“Casemiro played over 500 games in Europe and never once got a red card,” he said. “Now he has two in the Premier League. His absence is not the issue. We will deal with that. This game was influenced by the referee.”

Those thoughts were echoed by goalkeeper David de Gea, who said: “I think Casemiro was unlucky. He tried to touch the ball and his foot came up high. I think the referees need to show more consistency.

"Sometimes they show a red card and sometimes they don't... It's going to be tough [without him], he's a big player. We will miss him for four games but we have a big squad. We have players coming from the bench who do well. We will keep working hard."

However, former top-flight referee Poll has now dismissed any claim that Casemiro is being harshly dealt with in English football and believes that Ten Hag must intervene to urge his player to quickly adapt his physical approach.

“When I was refereeing I can, with clear conscience, say that I never ‘targeted’ a player,” he wrote in his latest column for BettingSites.

“When impartiality is your watchword how could you? Of course there are players who are more physical and therefore more likely to be disciplined by the referee and Casemiro clearly fits into that category.

“Casemiro, having attracted so many disciplinary cards recently clearly hasn’t learned to adapt his approach and his manager will, I hope, advise him to do so.”