Chris Smalling believes Dimitri Payet should have seen red for an alleged dive in West Ham United’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United in the FA Cup on Sunday.
Payet, already on a yellow, appeared to go down easily following a challenge from Marcos Rojo in Man United’s box.
Referee Martin Atkinson waved away the Frenchman’s protests but neglected to punish him. Minutes later, Payet fired home the free-kick which gave West Ham the lead at Old Trafford. Smalling criticised Atkinson following the decision.
“I’ve heard there was no contact and, to be fair, it should have been another yellow card,” Smalling said.
“But there are many decisions in a game and it’s one that didn’t go our way.
“I think if they’re not going to give a penalty, then it’s got to be diving really, hasn’t it? It’s frustrating for us and obviously they punished us with a very good free-kick.
“I think, more often than not, if you dive you do get a yellow card. Obviously on this occasion it didn’t happen.”
Payet was incredibly lucky to stay on the pitch and the ruling would have garnered a lot more controversy had West Ham beat Man United and gone through.
As it happened, Anthony Martial scored a late equaliser to take the tie to a replay. The hope is that another poor refereeing decision does not decide who reaches the semi-finals of the competition.