Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl believes Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford should not be facing his team on Sunday and instead should be serving a suspension for his “absolutely disastrous” tackle on Virgil Van Dijk.
The England number one has faced criticism over the incident during last weekend’s Merseyside derby, which left Liverpool defender Van Dijk needing knee surgery and facing a lengthy spell of rehabilitation.
The incident had been reviewed by VAR, with the Holland international adjudged to have been offside before he was clattered by the Toffees keeper.
Pickford escaped any retrospective disciplinary action.
Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, though, suggested the goalkeeper was “stupid” and had made the challenge on his fellow Dutchman without concern for the player’s welfare – which Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti has since dismissed as unfair.
Hasenhuttl feels the fact VAR was able to intervene on the offside call muddied the water somewhat, but is in no doubt such a challenge should have resulted in a straight red card.
“I think yes (Pickford should have been sent off),” the Austrian said. “I also had a discussion about this. It was a horrible tackle to be honest.
“I see the bigger issue as sometimes with this offside rule, (whether it is) or not.
“We have more often the situation now that the game goes on although it is offside and then some duels happen that don’t have to happen normally, this is an issue.
“But we are also happy about having the VAR because now you see, in the Europa League, there is no VAR, how many discussions there are around decisions from the referee.
“But sure, you cannot go like this into a duel. This is an absolutely disastrous tackle to be honest.
“I think sure it can be a red card in the end… when you only see the tackle, (it) was horrible yes.”
Everton forward Richarlison was later sent off for a bad challenge on Thiago Alcantara, which will see the Brazilian serve a suspension.
Wijnaldum also claimed their local rivals go “way too far” in Merseyside derbies.
Hasenhuttl, though, believes there is much more to Ancelotti’s side this season than just a robust approach.
“If you reduce it only to the physical quality, I think you do them not right,” the Southampton manager said.
“They have more qualities than only physical qualities, so they have some really good players in the team now.
“I think that every team in the Premier League has quality and we have to prepare for the best possible team, for our side, it means we have to look at our strengths.
“We have also some really good players and we also have a very good commitment. When you have this in combination, then you can compete with every team.”