Football News

Casemiro’s treatment from referees is “so unfair” according to Man Utd boss Ten Hag

By Harry Edwards

Published: 18:14, 19 February 2024

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has dubbed the treatment Casemiro is getting from Premier League referees as “so unfair”.

During his time at Real Madrid, Casemiro made a name for himself as a midfield disrupter, and was booked 62 times during his 222 games in La Liga. For opposition fans who watched him, many believed Casemiro wasn’t punished enough for his fouls.

Between the start of the 2016/17 season and 2021/22 when he left Real Madrid, just four players were booked more times than Casemiro’s 44. However, those 44 yellow cards came from a whopping 302 fouls. That’s an average of 6.86 fouls per card.

Once moving to Man Utd, in his first campaign at the Red Devils, Casemiro was booked 13 times in 53 games in total, with seven in 28 coming in the Premier League. This season, Casemiro is on six yellow cards in 17 games, but the rate of bookings has picked up in recent weeks.

Across all competitions, four of those six yellow cards have come in Casemiro’s past five games, with the Brazilian only escaping a caution in the 4-3 win over Wolves at the start of February. He has also been sent off for two yellow cards in the Champions League.

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There were fans calling for Casemiro to be sent off at the weekend against Luton. The Brazilian was booked just after the half-hour mark at Kenilworth Road, for a foul on Amari’i Bell, which some Man Utd fans felt was harsh. Five minutes later, he brought down Ross Barkley and Luton fans were calling for Casemiro to be sent off, but David Coote gave no punishment.

At half time, Ten Hag brought both Casemiro and Harry Maguire off, with the latter also on a yellow card. And the Dutchman admitted the risk of a red card was behind the decision, but backed Casemiro, instead highlighting his belief that the Brazilian is treated harshly.

“I spoke already with him, but it looks like even when he is not touching opponents he’s getting booked – and often on the first moment in the game as well. So I think it’s crazy,” he told reporters.

“Today was similar. I think it’s so unfair that first booking. And the second he [the referee] could have given, and that’s why we took him off.

“But it’s difficult to play when you don’t even touch an opponent and then you get booked.”

In the Premier League this season, Casemiro is one of 116 players to have been booked at least four times. The Brazilian has committed just 18 fouls, with an average of 4.5 fouls per yellow card. While this may seem quite harsh, there are 78 players who average fewer fouls per caution than the Brazilian (among those with at least four yellow cards).

The worst is Jack Grealish, who has received six yellow cards from just five fouls. Of course, yellow cards aren’t just awarded for fouls, with dissent and time wasting among other reasons for players receiving bookings.

Grealish, for example, has received three yellow cards for arguing — including one after the full-time whistle — as well as ones for a foul, time wasting and dissent.

But Ten Hag may be onto something. All four of Casemiro’s yellow cards have been for fouls, with three of those his first of the respective game. It was only against Luton at the weekend that Casemiro was booked for his second foul, though it came just moments after his first.

At the other end of the stick, Jeffrey Schlupp (22), Amari’i Bell (21) and Scott McTominay (20) are the three players with at least 20 fouls and no yellow cards to their name this season.