Roy Keane says Fulham crushed themselves against Man United with 90 seconds remaining which cost them the game
Roy Keane has admitted Fulham hit the self-destruct button as hopes of reaching the FA Cup semi-finals have waned since 2002 with the red haze descending in defeat by Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Marco Silva’s side looked on course to win the famous FA Cup after taking the lead five minutes into the second half at Old Trafford when Issa Diop slotted in Andrea Pereira’s corner kick to allow Aleksandar Mitrovic to fire home from close range.
But the match changed completely before the 70th minute, when Anthony broke the right side and squared the ball for Jadon Sancho. He rounded Bernd Leno and then shot towards goal by blocking Willian on the line before replays showed he had stopped the shot with his hand.
The wheels stopped when coach Marco Silva, Willian and Mitrović were sent off in an astonishing 90-second period that turned the game on its head.
Ken said ITV Sports: “It was an issue of Fulham’s self-destruction, especially with the penalty incident – the reaction of managers and players.
“Obviously a touching game and we all went through it. It was a crazy 90 seconds that cost them the game.”
Silva was sent off for something he said to referee Chris Kavanagh when he came to check the screen. Then Kavanagh signaled a penalty and showed Willian a red card.
An angry Mitrović confronted Kavanagh and protested on his own orders, leaving Fulham down to nine and without a coach.
Mitrovic took some time to leave the field and several of his Fulham team mates were forced to calm down before eventually leaving the field.
Bruno Fernandes sent Leno the wrong way to level the scores, with Marcel Sabitzer adding a second soon after, before Fernandes added a third in injury time.
Keane added, “It wasn’t necessarily about Manchester United winning, it was more about Fulham finding a way to lose.”
“I have no sympathy for them. They’ll get one or two compliments, but they won’t get any from me. They had a chance and blew it.”
Should Mitrović get a long ban?
Following his violent behaviour, Mitrovic will now serve a three-match Premier League ban and will miss matches against Bournemouth, West Ham and Everton – but due to the nature of the incident, there could be a case for the Serbian forward being banned for even longer.
Silva hopes the FA will be forgiving when reviewing the incident and the referee’s post-match report.
“I don’t think so,” said the Fulham boss, when asked if he felt Mitrovic could be ready for a long-term ban.
“I saw the picture and spoke with Mitrovic. It’s a moment when he needs to control his emotions. Of course, at that moment he pushes the referee but not in a very bad way. I hope the people who decide do it with fairness.
“Like in that moment with the red card, the penalty kick and the two moments we had in the penalty area where Mitrović was involved where no one checked or cared about that situation. Unfortunately for us we have been really unlucky with Chris Kavanagh this season – so many moments it’s hard to comprehend some his decisions.
“It’s hard for us to accept these decisions because I understand that Manchester United is a huge club and it’s the quarter-finals but both teams have to have the same conditions to stay in the championship.
“You can’t decide one way because sometimes a Manchester United team or a Fulham team can decide very differently in some situations. The referee sometimes feels the pressure, I feel the pressure, the players feel it, but the people in the office [VAR team at Stockley Park]It’s really hard to accept.
“Our story with Chris Kavanagh this season was really difficult as a football club. We had a West Ham game away from home where we lost the match with two clear goals in handball and Chris Kavanagh was in that match.”
Silva: Why didn’t the referee check the observer for a penalty?
Speaking to ITV afterwards, Silva said he was saddened that his team were not awarded a penalty.
Early pressure saw David De Gea header Diop, while Mitrovic wanted a penalty – and United defenders yellow for diving – when he tangled with Lisandro Martinez in the box.
“We have to talk about every game and not just a single moment. Until the penalty and the red card, we were clearly the best team on the field. We respect Manchester United but it was clear we were the best team on the field.”
In response to a question about the penalty incident in which Willian was involved, Silva said: “It is a decision that can be taken by the video assistant referee. What is difficult to understand is why there are two moments in the penalty area in the first half, where one of them represents a clear penalty kick on Mitrović, why not Anyone check?
On his red card, he added: “At that moment, I shouldn’t have been sent off. I don’t want that to happen. It’s my place to be there. If you ask me if I’ve done something I’m happy with it, of course not. But if you ask me if this should be The card is red, I have great doubts. I would like to know what the referee will write about what I told him.”
Fulham collapse in pictures
Aleksandar Mitrovic went from hero to zero as one of three Fulham red cards in 90 seconds of pandemonium at Old Trafford.
Kane: Manchester United must improve their semi-final position
Twelve-time cup winners United advance to face Brighton at Wembley while Fulham calculate the cost of the day that could hurt their push to Europe through the Premier League with suspension.
It was a dramatic turnaround in a game where Fulham had been the better team for most of the afternoon.
Said the absence of the suspended Casemiro and Fred – among the starting substitutes Scott McTominay and Sabitzer – as has perhaps United’s relentless schedule across four fronts this season as the hosts struggled against a Fulham outfit and showed plenty of sting with Joao Balinha returning from a. ban.
Hence United were awarded a path to Wembley.
“It’s literally impossible to play with nine men,” Kane continued. Fulham tried to sit out but United played them for the last 10-15 minutes.
“Manchester United’s priority today was to get to the next round but I still think the manager will be very disappointed with what he saw.
“Fulham self-destructed but United were so poor that it was unbelievable.
“It’s better to be lucky than good, sometimes. They’ve found their way in previous games and the home draws have really helped them.
“You need luck in cup competitions and United have had their fair share this season.
“Having said that, I’ve lost a bit of confidence in watching United now. A month or two ago, I was thinking they were ready for that. But in the last couple of games I’ve seen some habits come back.
“It’s nice to play in moments now and then, but at the moment it feels like their DNA. They’ve slipped into some really bad habits.
“They came in today expecting to win the game because they have good players. But if they come in with that attitude in the semi-final, Brighton will beat them.
United need a kick in the ass.