West Ham boss David Moyes has declared himself “disappointed with football in general” in the wake of Tomas Soucek’s red card at Fulham.
The Hammers have successfully appealed against referee Mike Dean’s decision to send off the Czech midfielder for catching Aleksandar Mitrovic with his elbow by accident in Saturday’s goalless draw.
Dean checked the replays on the pitchside monitor after consulting VAR Lee Mason and decided the incident merited a straight red.
Moyes was unimpressed by Mitrovic’s reaction – the 6ft 2in Serbian striker went down clutching his face – but says the referees need to be stronger in their decision making.
“I am disappointed with football in general that the officials would allow these situations to take over from the game,” he said.
“I can only see the officials being the people that can stop it by not allowing the players to get away with the actions they are taking, because it is making the referee’s decision so difficult in giving them a decision when there wasn’t one to give.”
Moyes should be riding the crest of a wave with West Ham lying sixth in the Premier League and with an FA Cup fifth-round trip to Manchester United to look forward to.
But the disillusioned Scot added: “Every footballer has a responsibility to do the correct thing but the officials are giving the players responsibility to gain success by their actions.
“The only people who can stop it are the officials. No-one else can change it. If players are going to do this, it needs to change.
“If they are going to be rewarded by getting players sent off and winning penalties and getting an advantage, we can’t let that happen. Only the officials can stop it.”
Moyes will have Soucek available at Old Trafford after the red card was overturned.
The Football Association said: “Tomas Soucek will be available for West Ham United FC’s next three fixtures following a successful claim of wrongful dismissal.
“The midfielder was sent off during a Premier League fixture against Fulham FC on Saturday for violent conduct.”
Soucek was delighted with the decision.
He said on Twitter: “I am glad my red card against Fulham has been overturned. I’ve checked it, I’ve gone over 200 games without a single red card. My entire career. I am looking forward to helping the team in the important games this week! Thanks for your support!”
While Soucek is now free to play, Moyes will have to check on the fitness of Michail Antonio who was withdrawn during the second half at Craven Cottage suffering with fatigue, with the burden of being West Ham’s only senior striker starting to take its toll.
“He is still fatigued so it will be a close call to see how he is,” added Moyes. “We will assess him to see if he is available or not.
“I hope we can go there and give them a really good game. The FA Cup has always thrown up upsets and we go there hoping to do that.”