Everton manager Marco Silva has hit out at Anthony Martial for diving to win a penalty during his side’s 2-1 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.
The Frenchman, who had been a dangerous force out wide from the start, worked his way into the box and tangled with Idrissa Gueye, prompting the referee to give a penalty.
Replays showed Martial, whilst certainly receiving contact, sticking his leg out in order to optimise his chances of winning a spot-kick – which Paul Pogba converted from a rebound.
Speaking after the game, Silva attacked Martial for his dive, noting that it proved to be a pivotal point in the encounter.
“We deserved more than the result we achieved,” he said. “It was a balanced match, until the moment they score the penalty.”
“It was not a penalty, clearly the player dived, it leaves a bad sensation. That decision gives them more confidence in the match. Our player touched the ball.
“I told the players at half-time it was not a fair result.”
The penalty was indeed a contentious decision. There was, on one hand, contact between Gueye’s outstretched leg and Martial. On the other, it felt like a soft decision, with Martial clearly waiting for enough reason to go down.
And it worked. Perhaps it wasn’t a penalty but it was, without doubt, an example of how Everton failed to cope with Martial’s dazzling footwork on the left hand side. Gueye would not have given away a penalty if he had been a bit less tighter to the Frenchman in the first place.