Fulham's Aleksandar Mitrovic makes bizarre excuse for referee push: 'I was trying to get his attention'

WHAT HAPPENED? The Serbia international saw red in what was a minute of complete capitulation from Fulham, who were in control over Manchester United in their FA Cup quarter-final earlier this month. Mitrovic shoved Kavanagh after the referee sent off Willian for a clear handball which eventually led to United's 3-1 comeback. The forward was then duly dismissed alongside manager Marco Silva, who had some choice words of his own for the official.

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WHAT THEY SAID: Both players and manager have since been charged by the Football Association, and even in his apologising statement Mitrovic tried to offer an obscure justification for his actions. "On a personal level, I regret my actions that led to me being sent off. I allowed my frustration to get the better of me, and how I reacted was wrong," Mitrovic began.

"I was trying to get the referee's attention," the statement continued, "but I appreciate that I should not have put my hands on him and I understand why he showed me a red card. I have accepted the three-match ban for my red card, I have spoken to Chris Kavanagh to apologise, and I have volunteered to accept a club fine."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Silva - who was also charged for allegedly kicking a bottle in the direction of Kavanagh in the almost unprompted melee - also showed remorse, writing in his statement: "I should have controlled my own emotions better. I regret what happened, and I have spoken to Chris Kavanagh to apologise. He knows that I respect him and the job he has to do.

"Unfortunately, we did not see eye-to-eye on the day, but I recognise that he is one of the top referees in this country and I know that when our paths cross again, there will be mutual respect between us. I am sorry that I was not on the pitch to try to lead the team to what could have been an historic FA Cup semi-final at Wembley."


Aleksandar Mitrovic Fulham FA Cup red cardGettyMitrovic Fulham 2022-23GettyMarco Silva red card Fulham Manchester United 2022-23Getty Images

WHAT NEXT? For Fulham, the actions of Mitrovic, Silva and, to a lesser extent Willian, cost the club their first ever chance of a major trophy in a quarter-final in which they were dominating, right up to that minute of madness. The players will do their best to put that behind them, though, when they return to Premier League action away to Bournemouth on Saturday.