Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has refused to criticise Tyrone Mings after the Bournemouth defender appeared to stamp on Zlatan Ibrahimovic's head during the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford today.
The decision-making of the referee, Kevin Friend, will dominate the headlines in the week to come, but it will not be for awarding two spot-kicks that propels Friend into the spotlight. Instead, it is for the red-card he handed to Surman and for utterly failing to deal with a spat that broke out between Ibrahimovic and Mings in the first-half, which should have resulted in both men being dismissed.
Mings was guilty of a quite shameless and deliberate stamp on Ibrahimovic’s head which Friend did not spot, before the Swede cynically caught Mings with a swinging elbow moments later, which Friend chose not to penalise. Instead Surman was the man handed his marching orders, for rather tamely shoving Ibrahimovic in the inevitable melee that ensued.
Mings claimed he had not acted deliberately.
United boss Jose Mourinho said only Mings knows whether the incident was intentional and added that, to him, any retrospective ban for the defender would be inconsequential.
The draw meant Mourinho's men missed the opportunity to climb into the top four ahead of the rest of the weekend's fixtures.
"I'm a football man, I'm in football for many, many years, I don't like to speak after matches what happened during matches," Mourinho said.
"What happened during matches, happened during matches and the referee was there. If you ask me that I am happy if Tyrone Mings gets three or four or five matches ban, I really don't care about it. He knows what he did, he knows better than anyone what he did. He knows better than the referee the intention or the emotion of the moment.
"I don't want to speak about it, it's not important for me. Important for me is the result of the game, is the fact that once more we deserved to win by far but we didn't and we lost two points and we lost a good opportunity to close the gap and jump a little bit.
"The referee made his decisions, I always defend that the referee is the one that has the decisions. Two important decisions Kevin (Friend) had it right, the two penalties are two penalties, no doubt about it so for me the referee was good and if we didn't win it was because Boruc made an amazing performance."
Zlatan Ibrahimovic's failure from the spot could be compounded by a spell on the sidelines, with the Football Association sure to look at the Manchester United striker's elbow and Tyrone Mings' stamp after 10-man Bournemouth secured a memorable 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.