Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has described Casemiro as ‘tough but fair’ in his defence of the midfielder after a second straight red card of 2023.
United were held 0-0 by struggling Southampton at Old Trafford in the Premier League, playing more than half the game with 10 players after Casemiro was sent off for a tackle on Carlos Alcaraz. Referee Anthony Taylor initially showed a yellow card, but VAR’s intervention prompted a second look and upgrading of the card to red.
Casemiro, who has been hailed as the catalyst for United’s massive improvement this season, will now serve a four-game ban that will rule him out of Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final against Fulham and subsequent Premier League games against Newcastle, Brentford and Everton.
The Brazilian won’t be eligible to return until United travel to Nottingham Forest on 15 April.
The reason for the four-game ban instead of the standard three is that it is a second such offence of the season after Casemiro was sent off in United’s win over Crystal Palace in early February.
Ten Hag has been keen to point out the five-time Champions League winner’s disciplinary record throughout his career prior to moving to England.
“Casemiro has played 500 games in Europe and never had a [straight] red card, and now he has two. He plays tough but fair,” the United boss summarised.
“Of course, it looks bad when you freeze the frame but everyone who knows something about football know what is bad and what is fair. I tell you Casemiro is a very fair player.”
Ten Hag had also been critical of referee Taylor in the aftermath of the game, which leaves United with only two wins from their last five Premier League games and firmly out of the title race amid recent suggestions they could mount a late charge.
Highlighting that he thought United should have had a penalty when Armel Bella-Kotchap seemed to handle the ball in the box, he said, “The issue is that this game was influenced by the referee.”
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