Former referee Dermot Gallagher gives decisive opinion on Cheikhou Kouyate red card

The ex-official is certain that the contentious decision to send off the West Ham United midfielder was the correct one.

Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher has waded into the debate surrounding Cheikhou Kouyate's red card against Crystal Palace on Saturday by insisting to Sky Sports that it was the correct decision to send off the West Ham United midfielder.

Kouyate was shown a straight red card by Mark Clattenburg for a clumsy lunge on Palace striker Dwight Gayle, a decision which heavily influence the outcome of the match.

West Ham were 2-1 up and in control at Upton Park until that decision midway through the second half, but just eight minutes after the dismissal Gayle struck to deny the hosts all three points.

Hammers manager Slaven Bilic was adamant after the match that the challenge did not even merit a yellow card, let alone a red, and the club have since confirmed that they will appeal the decision.

However, based on the views of former referee Gallagher, who officiated in the Premier League for 15 years, Clattenburg's big call was the correct one.

The 58-year-old told Sky Sports: "It's a red card but I'm in the minority. What's going through the referee's head is what we're taught.

"The first touch takes the ball away, he's adamant he wants to get the ball back quickly so he lunges in. Everything you're taught as a referee is that when that ball runs away the warning bells go on.

"You see the straight leg catching him across the bottom of his foot, every referee is taught [that is a] red card."

Gallagher's view is likely to infuriate West Ham fans, who know that their club's top-four challenge could well hinge on moments such as that one.

With their draw and wins for both Manchester clubs, the Hammers have fallen to sixth in the Premier League table, three points behind Man City and one short of United.

If West Ham's appeal over the decision is turned down, they will have to do without a player who has become an integral part of their side for the home clash with Arsenal next weekend, with Kouyate having scored four goals in 34 appearances so far this season.

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