Everton reaction

Saturday 8 December 2001

Everton boss Walter Smith let fly at rookie referee Phil Dowd after seeing David Weir dismissed towards the end of his side's 2-0 defeat at Fulham.

Dowd, taking charge of his first top-flight match, red-carded Weir and Luis Boa Morte after a challenge between the pair sparked an unsightly brawl at Craven Cottage.

But Smith was left utterly bemused by the fact that Weir was awarded a free-kick, and then given a second booking.

"I thought the decision to send David Weir off was disgraceful," Smith said. "I can't understand how the ref would give a foul to a player - as he did - and then send him off.

"If you can tell me what it was for, I'd be delighted to enlighten the referee. It's a mystifying decision, among other mystifying decisions in the game.

"He's the only player that has ever been sent off for clearing the ball, being pulled down and stamped on by the opposition.

"He gave him a second yellow card after giving him a foul - and it's the first time in my career that that's happened.

"There was nothing in it and if we can appeal, we will. Boa Morte's wasn't a sending-off either - and Louis Saha stood on top of him (Weir) and walked away."

Fulham's assistant boss Christian Damiano agreed that Boa Morte's sending-off was undeserved, and defended the Portuguese, who was dismissed against Ipswich earlier in the season.

"The sanction against Boa Morte was very hard as the first foul was from the Everton defender," he said.

"Boa Morte said the Everton defender's knee and foot arrived in his face. His reaction was to protect his face.

"It's difficult to talk about as it was a long way away from me, but he was unlucky to be sent off today, and also against Ipswich.

"I expect the attitude against Boa Morte is different now," he added. "He was a very hard player last year, but now we're working on his attitude and he's changed and grown in his position."