West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic was left “frustrated” as West Ham were reduced to 10-men at a pivotal point of their 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace on Saturday.
The Hammers were leading 2-1 in the 67th minute and then Cheikhou Kouyate and Dwight Gayle went in for a 50/50 ball in midfield.
[ VIDEO: Payet scores stunner ]
Referee Mark Clattenberg adjudged Kouyate to have gone into the tackle recklessly — even though he seemed to get the ball and it had bounced up high so both players went in with their feet up — and sent off the West Ham midfielder.
Less than 10 minutes later Gayle equalized for Palace and Bilic’s side held on for a point but know they should’ve grabbed all three.
Speaking to the BBC after the game, Bilic chose his words carefully but couldn’t hide his disappointment with Clattenberg’s decision.
“I would love to say a lot of things, I asked the legal people what can I say and what I can’t. It is never a red card and it’s the fourth game in a row we are getting decisions that are costing us,” Bilic said. “We’re fighting to finish high. If the opponent is better than you Ok, but it is frustrating. We aren’t going to sink or moan, we will come back and continue play good football.”
Former West Ham boss and current Palace gaffer Alan Pardew agreed with Bilic’s assessment of the situation.
“I thought the red card was harsh and I would’ve been disappointed to have that happen to one of my players,” Pardew said.
The point leaves West Ham three points off fourth-placed Manchester City with seven games to go but they should be just one point off City as they could’ve easily seen out their lead against Palace on Saturday.
Kouyate’s red card will be appealed and they’ll likely win the appeal, but West Ham feel robbed off two precious points and its easy to see why they feel aggrieved when you see the sending off for yourself.
Dimitri Payet had put the Hammers ahead with a majestic free kick (watch in the video above) but there’s a deflated atmosphere around Upton Park as they know this was a big chance to put pressure on those around them in the chase for the top four.