Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes was morally wrong to shove Everton forward Richarlison in Wednesday’s League Cup quarter-final tie – the rules should be changed to reflect this.
Those are the thoughts of ex-England-striker-turned pundit Darren Bent, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Russell Edge.
Everton were dumped out of the cup by United, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side’s two late goals were not the only talking points; the issue of serious foul play also reared its ugly head.
In the 51st minute, Fernandes nudged Richarlison into the path of Eric Bailly, who was leaping for a header, clattering the Brazilian in the process.
After it became clear Richarlison was suffering from concussion, he was immediately withdrawn from the action.
Comparing the incident with another involving an Everton player in November 2019, Bent observed: “We saw the same thing happen to Andre Gomes when he was shoved, and we now it was innocuous from Son, the little nudge, but that little nudge in his back obviously propelled him into Aurier which is what happened to his leg
“It’s a bit of a bottle job tackle, its a bit cheap, where you just kind of nudge him into it, because it can cause serious issues like it did there.
“Maybe referees and the footballing board should look at it and go ‘hmmm, I know it’s not illegal to do it, but it’s serious foul play.'”
The Fernandes-Richarlison incident is similar to the discussion taking place around what is fast becoming Harry Kane’s trademark move: retreating into a jumping defender so as to win a foul.
In the view of grassroots organisation Ref Support UK among others, this technique should be outlawed immediately, with the same principle applying to Fernandes’s barge on Wednesday.