Fulham manager Martin Jol feels that referee Andre Marriner was harsh to send off Steve Sidwell in his side’s Premier League defeat to with Arsenal.
The midfielder was dismissed in the 12th minute for a late challenge on Mikel Arteta, having only returned in that match following a previous three-match suspension.
Jol said after the game: “I would not have given the red card but I am subjective.
“I think it was a mistimed tackle but he caught the guy. It wasn’t his intention.”
“I was annoyed with him, but he says it is not intentional. He will regret that tackle. It was the first foul that spoilt the game
“I know it was not intentional because he wanted to play. He has just come back from a three-match suspension and now he is out for another four matches again so it was not only disappointing him, but also for us because we had to play with 10 men for a long time so that was more disappointing.”
“The red card spoiled the game a bit but we fought like lions and had better chances than them,” he continued. “In the first half we did ever so well but conceded a soft goal.”
Despite the setback of losing Sidwell so early in the game, Fulham coped admirably, continuing to probe the Arsenal back four thanks to impressive performances from Urby Emanuelson, Eyong Enoh and Alex Kacaniklic and were unfortunate not to earn a share of the spoils.
However they were left exposed at the back and Per Mertesacker took advantage of some slack defending from a free-kick to lash home just before half-time. Jol said: “Bryan Ruiz is my sixth man at the end of the wall and he was not doing what he normally should do – stay on the inside of the player – so that was disappointing.”
“I feel that if you look at their chances with the ball players they’ve got – they had a shot blocked from Santi Cazorla, a shot wide in the final seconds but I can’t remember a lot of other chances [for Arsenal],” said boss Jol.
“If you see the possibilities we had, especially in the first half on the break, we had a few perfect plays in that scenario, and then in the last 10 minutes we could substitute people and try to get something out of it, and I felt we deserved something out of it.
Fulham fell to 11th in the table after the defeat, but they are still nine points clear of the drop zone with four games to go.
And Jol thinks they have done enough to avoid relegation.
He added: “Wigan and Aston Villa have got a big hill to climb, so I don’t know but it is not what we want.
“We want to pick up a few results and get nearer to 50 points.
“It is a heavy schedule, but after today’s results it will be difficult to pick up these points.”