talkSPORT pundit Micky Gray believes Fulham’s defeat against Manchester United was down to Aleksandar Mitrovic’s sending off.
The striker’s dismissal was part of a spectacular FA Cup collapse at Old Trafford, which saw him, teammate Willian and manager Marco Silva get sent off after the Red Devils were awarded a penalty.
Mitrovic pushed referee Kavanagh following Willian’s red card
He had no choice but to also send the Fulham man off
Fulham were leading United 1-0 in the quarter-final tie thanks to Mitrovic’s goal early in the second half, but the hosts were awarded a penalty for Willian’s handball on the goal-line.
Silva was shown a red card for his protests, with Mitrovic receiving the same punishment for his shove on referee Chris Kavanagh as Fulham went on to lose 3-1.
The Serbian lost his head in reaction to Willian’s sending off, and former England international Gray says he lost Fulham the game.
He told talkSPORT: “For Aleksandar Mitrovic, your talisman, your star man, to come across to make contact with the referee, pretty much shove his arm out the way and then say what he said to the referee.
“Again, no doubt in the referee’s mind he had to give him a red card, tie over but, even if they score the penalty and Willian gets sent off, you’re down to ten men, you’re still in the FA Cup quarter-final.
“You’ve got a chance of still getting to the semi-final, they completely blew this tie out of the window and given United, who were poor today, a lifeline to go and play at Wembley against Brighton.”
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He added: “Mitrovic has lost his head, he should have still been on the field. He played really well in the second half, he could have actually won the tie for them with those two headers that he had.
“Now, by that sending off, he’s lost his side the game, he really has. Head has just completely gone.”
His talkSPORT colleague Alex Crook also said: “Mitrovic is a disgrace because of what he did to the referee.
“Mitrovic now, quite rightly, will face a very long suspension and that will probably also derail Fulham’s bid for a place in Europe.”
It was a spectacular collapse from Fulham, who were the better side before the chaos ensued.
Fernandes’ penalty inspired United’s progression to the semi-finals
Ex-United captain Roy Keane, who had his fair share of hot-headed moments as a player, was far from sympathetic though.
Keane told ITV: “A mad 90 seconds and it’s cost them the game.
“I’ve no sympathy for Fulham. They won’t get any plaudits from me. They had an opportunity and they blew it.”
Bruno Fernandes scored from the spot to equalise for United before Marcel Sabitzer gave them the lead just moments later.
Fernandes scored their third of the game to send Fulham out of the FA Cup.
United’s win has sent them through to the semi-finals, where they will face fellow Premier League opposition Brighton at Wembley. Manchester City take on Championship outfit Sheffield United in the other tie.