Fulham boss Martin Jol was unhappy with referee Lee Probert after the 3-1 home defeat to Sunderland.
Probert sent Whites skipper Brede Hangeland off after half an hour for a two-footed challenge on Lee Cattermole – but Jol felt Sunderland were fortunate to still have 11 by the end of the match.
Fulham substitute Mladen Petric was off the field when Sunderland scored their second goal, as he needed stitches for a gash on his leg caused by a late challenge, and Jol felt too many tackles went unpunished.
Jol said: “If everything is by the letter of the law, as with the red card, I don’t think we would have played against 11 – it would’ve been at least 10.
“There was one or two players who committed four or five fouls before he booked them, and he could’ve booked them in the first half.”
On Hangeland’s challenge, Jol said: “He [Probert] was probably the only one in the stadium who really thought it was a red card.
“He [Hangeland] was under the ball, not over the ball, so I don’t think it was a red card.
“By the letter of the law it was a red card. But sometimes it’d be nice if the referees could make the decisions in the spirit of the game.”
However, Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill said he was surprised players still go into two-footed challenges given the spate of red cards handed out.
O’Neill said: ’It is amazing when we’ve all been given the directives, and we’ve been guilty ourselves with Lee Cattermole being sent off.
“I sometimes don’t understand players these days. I don’t think it’s the case if you don’t go in two-footed people will consider you a coward – quite the opposite.”