Frustrated Coleman Reacts To VAR Controversy

Seamus Coleman insists Everton were unlucky to see Dominic Calvert-Lewin dismissed during Thursday night’s goalless draw at Selhurst Park in the FA Cup third round.

The Blues striker made what appeared to be an innocuous sliding challenge on Crystal Palace right-back Nathaniel Clyne, before VAR informed referee Chris Kavanagh to stop play to check the pitchside monitor.

After reviewing the tackle, Kavanagh decided to show Calvert-Lewin the first red card of the forward’s career, reducing Everton to 10 men after 79 minutes.

A frustrated Coleman spoke after the game, labelling his teammate's challenge as a “great tackle,” as he explained: “When you slow it down, it’s always going to look that bit worse. From where I was, it was a great tackle. I saw the replay after, and I don’t know who the fingers need to be pointed at. When you see the referee goes over there, you know he’s going to give a red card.

“It’s been a big talking point, and for me, that’s not a red card. It’s another decision that goes against us that maybe won’t get talked about as much.”

The 0-0 draw sets up a replay for the week commencing 15 January, and the Everton skipper’s involvement on Thursday represented a landmark appearance, as Coleman has now featured in 14 FA Cup campaigns for the Toffees - the joint-most for an outfielder in the Club’s history, and level with Jack Taylor’s run between 1896 and 1910.

As part of an organised Blues’ backline, Coleman helped Everton to deny Palace any shots on target during the first half. The hosts accumulated an expected goals figure of just 0.53 during the entire contest - fewer than the Blues’ 1.29.

While lauding the defensive solidity and improved resilience of his side, Coleman was keen to recognise the role of the more than 4,000 travelling Evertonians.

“There were a few late chances to win it, and maybe on another day, we put them away,” he acknowledged. “We defended a lot of set-pieces that could’ve gone their way. I was happy with how we played, and a special mention to all those Everton fans who came down here on a Thursday night. I don’t know how they’re going to get back, but their support is second-to-none, and we appreciate it.

“I think our resilience this year has been much better, and I never felt like we were going to concede today either. We stuck together, which was important.

“Coming away here, it’s always a tough game. It’s a great atmosphere and it’s a great game. I love coming away to play Crystal Palace. It was a tough game, and obviously going down to 10 men made it that bit more difficult.”

Just 10 minutes after the late red card, Everton were dealt another blow. Dwight McNeil was taken off the pitch on a stretcher after seemingly falling awkwardly in his own penalty area.

Paying tribute to his injured teammate, Coleman added: “He’s been massive for us recently, so we’re hoping it’s not too bad because his energy around the place and his commitment to the team has been different class.”