Erik ten Hag raged at inconsistent management after Casemiro’s second red card in five weeks kept Manchester United at one point against bottom Southampton.
After recovering from the seven-goal defeat at Liverpool with a 4-1 win against Real Betis in the Europa League, the Red Devils had to show their character again.
Casemiro was sent off in the 34th minute after VAR Andre Marriner advised referee Anthony Taylor to check the challenge against Saints midfielder Carlos Alcaraz on the pitchside monitor.
Angered by that decision, Ten Hag called for penalties – a possible foul by Kyle Walker-Peters and a handball claim on Armel Bella-Kotchap – as United dug deep to stave off Southampton’s impressive threat in a hard-fought 0-0 draw .
“The inconsistency (means) the players don’t know what the politics are anymore,” the United manager said of Casemiro’s dismissal.
“I think it’s all right. I mean you see yesterday Leicester-Chelsea then VAR don’t get on the line.
“Today it comes on the line and then there are two penalty situations, but they don’t come on the line.
“I think especially the first one for me was clear and obvious handball, so what’s the politics?”
Ten Hag said they had “a few questions” about the post on Sunday, when Casemiro received his second red card as a United player.
The 31-year-old caught his first straight red in Europe’s top leagues in last month’s 2-1 win over Crystal Palace and is now facing a four-game ban.
“There’s another one that’s contradictory,” Ten Hag said. “The referees come at the start of the season with a policy of ‘we’re the Premier League, we’re playing well here, we want intensity’.
“Casemiro is across the European leagues, in over 500 games he’s never had a red card and now he’s got it twice.
“He plays hard, but he plays fair, he also plays fair in that. Same as against Crystal Palace, so it’s very controversial.
“When you’re cold it looks bad, but anyone who understands football, who plays top-flight football, knows what’s bad and what’s not bad, what’s fair.
“I’m telling you, Casemiro is a really fair player. Tough but fair and it shows over 500 games in big leagues, never sent off.”
Casemiro is understandably disappointed and Ten Hag said “we’ll have to think about that overnight” on how they can play without him in the next four domestic games.
Ten Hag replied “we’ll see” when asked if United will appeal a decision that saw United play with 10 men for the better part of an hour.
“This team has once again shown great spirit, team spirit, good fighting spirit and supporting each other,” said the Dutchman, who downplayed Alejandro Garnacho’s injury after being spotted walking Old Trafford on crutches with his right foot in a boot left.
“I think we played at a really good level when we were 11 and 10.
“We played during the week, they didn’t. We were 10 and we defended well, we had good counterattacks, we had some good attacks, some good opportunities.
“Bruno (Fernandes) hit the post. Of course, I also saw them hit the post and that was a counterattack following a corner from us in a one-on-one when David (De Gea) saved.
“But overall the performance was quite good, then you’re disappointed that you only got one point.”
The Saints shared that frustration after failing to turn a largely dominant performance into a win as Ruben Selles’ side struggled to overcome the drop.
“We’re taking the game in two parts,” said the Southampton manager. “The first part is about the result. we are not happy We talk about coming here and winning the game and doing our best to win the game.
“That’s what we did, so we’re not happy with the point.
“But we’re really happy with the performance we put on on the pitch and we showed character 11 against 11 and against 10 men.
“We showed identity, the principles that we have in our game and we saw a team working together, wanting to be together and getting something out of the game.
“So disappointed on the point but very happy with the performance.”