Sunderland manager David Moyes has registered his disappointment over Adnan Januzaj’s late red card in the 1-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
The Belgian, who joined the Black Cats on loan over the summer, was sent off in the 90 minute after picking up a second yellow card for his late challenge on Ben Davies.
Januzaj has made a relatively positive start to life in Wearside, but has often found himself stifled by substandard team performances under Moyes.
Speaking after the game, the former Manchester United manager expressed his frustration towards Januzaj, who will now miss Sunderland’s midweek League Cup clash with Queens Park Rangers.
“I was disappointed with Adnan, but I was also disappointed with the referee,” he said.
“It should have been a free-kick to us on the edge of the box – you could see he was having his jersey pulled.
“He didn’t give it and Adnan should not have spoken back to the referee.
“The second yellow could have been a yellow, could be. I’ve seen that one back on television and it looks worse on the television than it does stood pitchside.
“It didn’t look an awful lot at pitchside. I think [the first yellow] he had a case for his disapproval.”
Perhaps Januzaj, having watched Man United’s 3-1 defeat to Watford, was offloading some anger at the notion of Wayne Rooney being picked ahead of him.
In all seriousness, however, the 21-year-old’s first senior red card is perhaps a symbol of pent up frustration, a growingly violent pot of antipathy for the predicament he finds himself in. Once the focal point of United’s attack, Januzaj has quickly plunged into Wilfred Zaha at Cardiff territory: feeding off scraps for a side desperately rooted to the foot of the table.
But this is no time to lament, and Januzaj knows that: this set-back ought to act as a catalyst, an opportunity to reassess and return, stronger than before, to show Jose Mourinho exactly what he is missing.