Game to new low?
believes the sending- off was harsh, Mata knows he got it wrong . He said: “This is a new and strange situation for me but we learn from everything.
“I know that in football we see things like this every week but what hurts is that my team- mates had to fi ght with 10 men for a long time.
“It also leaves me with a bad taste for the supporters who travelled to the stadium and for those who were watching the game from home. But I must carry on as always and I’m already focused on the next game.”
That next game is the fi rst leg of United’s mouthwatering Europa League last- 16 tie against arch- rivals Liverpool at Anfi eld on Thursday night.
Mata will be eligible for that but will now be banned for United’s FA Cup quarter- fi nal at home to West Ham next Sunday. The defeat at West Brom, following a run of three straight league wins, has left Van Gaal’s side with it all to do to fi nish in the top four to secure Champions League qualifi cation.
Their best hope of playing in Europe’s elite competition next season may be by winning the Europa League.
Mata, who went from the high of scoring United’s winner as captain against Watford to the low of his red card, remains determined to make amends.
He said: “The team was in a good shape. I hope this blot won’t make us forget that we were on the right track and that we have to keep believing in ourselves to achieve the goals that are HE DOES not believe that diving is a problem in the English game but felt that Andre Marriner could have handled Sunday’s situation better.
Hackett, the former FIFA and Premier League referee and manager of the Professional Game Match Offi cials Board, said: “England is a long way from being the worst country when it comes to players diving.
“There has been a lot of work done on this over the years in terms of education of players and coaches. But I r e m e m b e r standing in front of a group of managers saying to them that detection of simulation is so diffi cult. Referees are not always going to get it right.” Hackett, who now has a refereeing blog called You- Are- The- Ref. com, said: “The pace of the modern game has gone up. Players are moving faster. Sometimes they do go down easy – either to avoid a challenge, or sometimes to win an advantage.
“This decision on Sunday has sparked a huge amount of debate, even among referees. At fi rst glance I thought it was a dive. Then from the cameras you could see contact.
“I think the process could have been better. If Marriner has decided there is no offence he tells the linesman straight away.
“The linesman, an experienced linesman, was 100 per cent sure from the start. But Marriner was left looking as though the players persuaded him to consult the linesman – and then he gives it.
“It was diffi cult – even with video. But if in doubt, you don’t make the big call.
“To me Marriner’s body language was submissive. Not right. Would Pierluigi Collina have looked like that? I don’t think so. You have be solid, be positive.” still in our minds from now until the end of the season. “I take responsibility in the good and the bad moments, as I’ve always done and I will always do.”
United’s fi rst defeat in 32 years at the Hawthorns summed up a frustrating season of missed opportunities for Van Gaal’s side. And
Michael Carrick, who replaced Mata as captain on his return to the side, insists that the disappointment in the camp cannot be allowed to linger until Thursday’s trip to Merseyside.
Carrick said: “It is a setback but there are some massive games around the corner.
“Things were looking good. We were on the up, everyone was so positive.
“This is a blow for us but we need to get back, ready for Thursday.”