Manchester United manager David Moyes claimed he was 'beginning to laugh' at referees following his side's 2-1 Capital One Cup semifinal defeat at Sunderland, in comments that may come under scrutiny from the Football Association.
A defiant and smiling Moyes insisted he would be under 'no pressure whatsoever' in the second leg at Old Trafford after overseeing his side's third straight defeat, yet it is his comments directed at match referee Andre Marriner that may land him in hot water with the game's authorities.
Moyes was furious after Sunderland were awarded a penalty after Adam Johnson went down under a challenge from Tom Cleverley, as he suggested the Sunderland player took a tumble in the box days after United's Adnan Januzaj was booked for diving against Tottenham.
"We had a player booked for the same challenge the other day," Moyes told Sky Sports when asked about the Johnson challenge. "We are talking about them [referees] again aren't we. It looks as if we are having to play them as well as the opposition at the moment.
"It's terrible, it really is. We are actually beginning to laugh at them [match officials], that's the thing."
Moyes went on to pay tribute to the travelling fans after claiming they showed him great support at Stadium of Light, with the increasingly pressurised United boss convinced his team did not deserve to lose against the Premier League's bottom side.
"Our crowd were unbelievable tonight, they were fantastic and the support they gave me especially was terrific," stated Moyes. "The players deserved it [the support] because they did well. This is a two-legged game and I'm really looking forward to the second game now.
"I can tell by the reaction in the dressing room that we will do everything we can to get it right. The players put in a strong performance tonight and it just didn't quite come off, but it will come, I can sense it."
Moyes admitted he didn't know whether his injured duo of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie would return for the tie, as he again reserved special praise for another eye catching performance from Januzaj.
"You just needed to look at the performance of Adnan Januzaj tonight," added the United boss. "He was terrific and put in a great performance. Hopefully we will get these players back as they are big players for us. If we can get them back for the second leg, then that will be great."