West Bromwich Albion head coach Pepe Mel insisted Robin van Persie should definitely have been sent off in Manchester United’s 3-0 win at The Hawthorns and felt referee Jonathan Moss’ leniency changed the game.
The United top scorer, who had set up Phil Jones’ opening goal, was given a final warning after being booked for fouling Morgan Amalfitano and then chopping down Steven Reid.
United manager David Moyes admitted it was a foul but felt Van Persie, whom he promptly substituted, did not deserve a red card.
But Mel said: “It was a clear second yellow card. With the red card to Van Persie, the game would have changed and been completely different.”
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Moyes argued: “It was a foul, not a second booking, that was for sure. He got a touch on the ball and that is why I said it wasn't anything more than a foul. Not every time you make a foul is it a yellow card.
“It was a foul, but I just felt that one more foul could have led to something else. Robin knew exactly what was happening. I told him. I walked over and told him that I was going to have to take him off but it was the right decision.”
Wayne Rooney and substitute Danny Welbeck also scored in United’s biggest win of 2014 and Moyes praised his players for their performance.
He added: “The team played very well. I think all areas. There were some very good performances, Marouane Fellaini did really well, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling were excellent. I thought the two boys up front were fabulous, Wayne and Robin were really good with Juan Mata and Adnan [Januzaj] and we scored three goals. I felt we had more goals in us today as well.”
United’s previous game was the demoralising 2-0 defeat to Olympiakos and Moyes said: “I saw by their attitude had changed completely. They showed their effort and commitment, not just good play. I think it showed in the performance as well.”
Mel, who is yet to win as Albion manager, insisted he does not fear for his future and believes he can still keep them up.
“Yes of course,” he said. “The next four matches are very, very important for us. We need 11 men, 11 good professional players and good mentality. It is the future of the club.”
Albion will assess the injuries incurred by Claudio Yacob, Steven Reid and Chris Brunt on Sunday.