West Bromwich Albion captain Darren Fletcher has insisted that he did not try to force the referee into sending off Juan Mata in the clash between the two sides on Sunday.
Mata was dismissed after just 26 minutes at The Hawthorns after picking up two yellow cards in quick succession. Solomon Rondon eventually secured a 1-0 win for West Brom with a winner in the second half.
Mata’s second yellow came after a kick on former Man United teammate Fletcher, but the midfielder insisted his appeals to referee Mike Dean were simply done in the heat of the moment.
“I thought we looked flat when they went to 10, we almost didn’t know what to do, but the advantage of 11 against 10 seemed to get us through in the end and Salomon’s got a fantastic winner,” Fletcher said.
“I appealed because it’s spur of the moment in the game. It’s an automatic reaction, you’re not looking to get anyone sent off.”
Man United’s loss to Tony Pulis’s side meant they have now failed to win 10 of 16 fixtures against bottom half sides in the Barclays Premier League.
It’s not been good enough as far as United are concerned and they cannot expect to finish in the top four as a result. Winning the Europa League, although a big ask, looks to be United’s only hope of securing Champions League football next term.