Fulham boss Chris Coleman accepted that Ian Pearce’s challenge on Kevin Doyle in the game against Reading was a definite penalty, but felt referee Dermot Gallagher could have avoided sending off the defender.

The red card came in the 15th minute, forcing Coleman’s men to play the majority of the game with 10 men, but he felt his side battled well despite the decision.

“It was a penalty – I think even big Ian Pearce would say that himself, he’s mistimed the challenge,” he said.

“Does he have to be sent off as well? I don’t know.”

He admitted that playing to the letter of the law made it difficult, but said he felt the law needed adjustment.

“I think that’s got to be changed.

“It wasn’t a malicious challenge from Ian. He’s got it wrong – I don’t think he has to be punished twice.

“I think a penalty can be given and a yellow card, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case.

“There’s no arguments about the penalty award.”

Despite the result, he felt the performance was a distinct improvement on their 3-1 defeat at Manchester City last week.

“I was delighted with the response from the players this week. We didn’t get the three points, or a point, but what we did get was a reaction.

“It was even harder for us, down to 10 men, but I was proud of the players.

“It wasn’t pretty football all the time, but at times we played some good football.

“It was a more purposeful performance I would say. More committed. We looked a different team to last week.”

In a heated first half, Luis Boa Morte and Liam Rosenior had an on-pitch argument, but Coleman said that was good to see.

“We can’t expect them to be 11 gentlemen all the time if we’re asking for commitment and passion, and it’s an emotional game. We’re all emotional about it, we all want to win, and you saw that with Liam and Boa, and I think it was Franck (Queudrue) and Zat (Knight), because they want to do well. We’ve set good standards this season and we’re not easy to beat, and the reason we’re not easy to beat is because we’ve got guys on the pitch who care a lot and they want to win for this football club.

“I’m not opposed to that.”