Fulham manager Marco Silva questions referee Chris Kavanagh after FA Cup exit

Dismissed: Marco Silva  (Manchester United via Getty Imag)
Dismissed: Marco Silva (Manchester United via Getty Imag)

Marco Silva appeared to suggest referee Chris Kavanagh always treats Fulham harshly, after Willian and Aleksandar Mitrovic and the manager was sent off in Fulham’s 3-1 FA Cup quarter-final defeat to Manchester United.

Fulham were 1-0 up at Old Trafford through Mitrovic’s second-half goal and looked to be heading for a first FA Cup semi-final in 21 years.

But Willian handled on the line, was duly dismissed, and Silva and Mitrovic soon followed due to their forceful protestations. Bruno Fernandes scored twice and Marcel Sabitzer also found the net as United turned the tie on its head to send nine-man Fulham out.

“On the pitch we were the best team until that moment,” Silva reflected after the match. “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 [FA Cup] game [against] Leeds in the FA Cup it was him again. And for a game that is 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 it’s been really unhappy this season.”

Silva became the Premier League’s first manager to be suspended this season when he had to watch his side’s FA Cup fourth-round replay at Sunderland in February from the stands after picking up too many yellow cards for his impassioned touchline remonstrations.

“Let’s talk about all the game and not just one moment,” Silva said. “Until the penalty moment and the red cards, we were clearly the best team on the pitch. For me it was a decision the VAR can take.

“What is difficult to understand is why the two moments in the box in the first half — one of them is a clear penalty and nobody checks — nobody sees.”

United manager Erik Ten Hag praised the visitors to Old Trafford, who broke the deadlock through the eventually dismissed Mitrovic.

He said: “Fulham are a good team and you have to be good to overcome them. I think we had a good first half. We had great moments in the attacking transition and we should have been two or three goals up.

“I don’t want to emphasise that,” he said about Fulham’s three red cards. “It was a great counter attack but I think everyone saw it was handball.”