Manchester United playmaker Juan Mata felt his sending off against West Brom was harsh but conceded he could have avoided the dismissal.
The Spaniard was shown two yellow cards as United lost 1-0 at The Hawthorns and, while disappointed with referee Mike Dean’s decision, took responsibility for the sending off – the first in his career – after just 26 minutes.
Mata first stuck a foot out to block a West Bromwich Albion free-kick before swinging a boot through Darren Fletcher and was booked twice.
Writing on his blog, Mata wrote: ‘After almost 500 games as a professional player, this Sunday I was sent off for the first time in my career. As you can imagine, it’s not easy for me to write these lines.
‘The truth is this is a new and strange situation for me, not easy to assimilate, but we learn from everything. I know that, in football, we see things like these every week, but obviously what hurts more is that my team-mates had to fight with ten men for a long time.
‘I have the feeling that both decisions were rigorous; that, in many occasions, we see more serious fouls that are not penalised in such a way, but at the same time I could have avoided them and I take responsibility.’
United’s defeat meant Louis van Gaal’s side lost ground on the race for the top four, and Mata, who was the goalscoring hero against Watford just four days earlier, said the sending off had left a ‘bad taste’.