Manager Marco Silva and striker Aleksandar Mitrovic have apologised for their behaviour during Fulham’s FA Cup defeat at Manchester United earlier this month.
The Cottagers were on course for a memorable victory at Old Trafford before a minute of madness saw Silva, Mitrovic and Willian sent off by referee Chris Kavanagh.
Willian received his marching orders for using his arm to block Jadon Sancho’s shot on the goal line.
Kavanagh initially awarded a corner before VAR advised him to look at the incident again. But as he was watching on the pitchside monitor, Silva reportedly used abusive language towards the official, which resulted in his dismissal.
And Mitrovic was also shown a red card for pushing the referee as Fulham fell to a disappointing 3-1 loss to go out of the FA Cup.
The Cottagers manager is now facing a touchline ban, while the Serbian forward could be suspended for a lengthy period for shoving the referee.
The striker has already received a three-match suspension, but the Football Association believes that is still insufficient punishment for his violent and improper conduct.
Mitrovic and Silva both have now issued statements to express regret for their actions during the quarter-final game.
The Serbian said (as per The Athletic): “On a personal level, I regret my actions that led to me being sent off. I allowed my frustration to get the better of me, and how I reacted was wrong.
“I was trying to get the referee’s attention, but I appreciate that I should not have put my hands on him and I understand why he showed me a red card, my first in-game sending off for Fulham and my first since the 2015-16 season.
“I have accepted the three-match ban for my red card, I have spoken to Chris Kavanagh to apologise, and I have volunteered to accept a club fine. I now want to do what I can to put this incident behind me and get back to helping my teammates on the pitch as soon as possible.
Silva added: “Emotions were high at Old Trafford and, as I said in my press conference after the game, I should have controlled my own emotions better. It was a very difficult moment, in a match that we had dominated, but I could have handled the situation better.
“I regret what happened, and I have spoken to Chris Kavanagh to apologise. He knows that I respect him and the job he has to do.
“Unfortunately, we did not see eye-to-eye on the day, but I recognise that he is one of the top referees in this country and I know that, when our paths cross again, there will be mutual respect between us.
“I am sorry that I was not on the pitch to try to lead the team to what could have been an historic FA Cup semi-final at Wembley, but I am thankful for all the support I have received from Fulham fans over the last few days.”
United must improve to make it to the final
United are aiming to win their second domestic trophy following their Carabao Cup success.
However, they will have to produce a much better performance than their last display against Fulham to reach the FA Cup final.
United’s victory in the quarter-finals was more down to the meltdown on the part of the Cottagers than their own brilliance.
The visitors were clearly in the ascendancy until the 72nd minute, when two of their players were sent off.
The Red Devils then made their numerical superiority count as they ran out 3-1 winners to qualify for the semi-final, where they will now face Brighton & Hove Albion.
Roberto De Zerbi’s side defeated United in August and will provide tough competition at Wembley Stadium.
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