A raging Marco Silva went full-Mourinho in the aftermath of Fulham’s defeat at the hands of Huddersfield yesterday. The consternation at two differing penalty decisions from Tony Harrington was understandable – and his fury at inconsistent refereeing was fierce.

“It was a clear mistake by the referee. It was never a penalty – the player fell on our goalkeeper and the decision was strange for me because it was a clear mistake. Marek didn’t do anything. It was tough for us to understand why. OK, I can make mistakes and the referee as well but it was so clear.

We had a clear handball in the box that unfortunately the referee didn’t see – the linesman was in a good position and he didn’t see, it is strange for us.

I don’t like to speak about referees when I lose but today this had a big impact. If that was a penalty I could find in the second half two or three penalties in their box. I am 100% sure that if it was ‘Mitro’ there who falls down on the goalkeeper it will not be a penalty. Even if it is a penalty they will not give.”

Marco Silva after Saturday’s defeat by Huddersfield

Silva probably has a point in relation to the both penalty incidents, as loathe as I am to single out referees for criticism when they are doing an incredibly difficult job. The modern game, with its slow-motion replays and roll-out of VAR, has morphed into something where any contact is a foul. Harrington interprets Sorba Thomas colliding with Marek Rodak as a foul by the goalkeeper having seen it at full speed from behind the play and gives himself no thinking time to consider what has occurred. I’m not exactly sure how Rodak could have got out of the winger’s way and Thomas was certainly looking to touch the ball past the goalkeeper and go down in the fashion perfected by a teenage Michael Owen all those years ago. There is a suggestion that the official could have interpreted Tim Ream’s touch on Thomas as punishable with a penalty, but if that is a spot-kick we’d have twenty in every Championship game.

It’s entirely possible that Harrington will recognise his mistake after viewing the incident again – if not with his award of Huddersfield’s penalty, then probably with the ignoring of a handball by Jon Russell as Tosin headed for goal in stoppage time. That won’t do much to assuage Fulham’s sense of grievance, but having a burning desire to put things right probably isn’t the worst way to approach Wednesday’s meeting with Peterborough.

Silva stuck rigidly to his assertion that Fulham were the better side – but I do hope his anger is performative and he is telling his team something different behind the scenes. Huddersfield are well-drilled and Carlos Corberan deserves immense credit for masterminding a sensational unbeaten run after their dreadful start to the season, with a play-off spot there for the taking now. Matty Pearson and Tom Lees produced probably the best display of uncompromising defending by a pair of centre halves at Craven Cottage this season – and Huddersfield’s wider recruitment is worthy of praise, as detailed at Terrier Spirit. In contrast to their opponents, Fulham were sloppy, wasteful and arguably guilty of the very complacency Silva was so keen to avoid.

For that, the head coach has to take some of the blame. His decision to play Bobby Decordova-Reid ahead of Neeskens Kebano might ultimately have been rewarded by the former’s fine finish to bring Fulham back into it, but the Whites had no fluency down the left flank to speak of in comparison to the intimate understanding between Neco Williams and Harry Wilson on the opposite flank. Silva was slow to change things up with Fulham needed to stage a stirring recovery from the start of the second half, only introducing Harrison Reed midway through when the game was made for his all-action approach.

It is too simplistic to lay all the blame at the official, however tempting that might be after a maddening defeat. Silva needs to come up with an answer to the Championship equivalent of a low block, as it will be how every side sets up at Craven Cottage between now and May. A lack of tactical flexibility will be ruthlessly exposed in the top flight should Fulham get there – so the work on coming up with a Plan B has to start now.