Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti has labelled the official’s decision “a joke” after Lucas Digne’s red card against Southampton.

The Toffees left back was sent off in the 72nd minute after a strong tackle on Kyle Walker-Peters.

The Blues unbeaten season came to an end after goals from James Ward-Prowse and Che Adams gave Southampton an important 2-0 win yesterday (October 25).

Digne’s red card was Everton’s second dismissal in two weeks after Richarlison was sent off after a nasty tackle on Liverpool’s Thiago Alcantara.

Jordan Pickford also received criticism after a reckless tackle on Virgil van Dijk which left Liverpool’s centre back with a long-term ACL injury.

Ancelotti has suggested that the incidents from last week’s Merseyside Derby may have  affected referee Kevin Friend’s decision against Digne.

He said: “The red card was a joke, it was not intentional, for sure it was not violent.

“Maybe all this talk all week against Pickford, against Richarlison, affected the decision and if so it’s not right, it’s not fair.

“We will appeal, for sure.”

The red card means Digne will receive a three-match ban unless Everton manage to overturn the decision which was given by the Football Association.

“He did not have the intention to hurt the player, or to use violent conduct. It was not the right decision,” Ancellotti added.

“To lose Digne for three games is too much.

“We didn’t complain about Richarlison. But here, we have to appeal, because this was not the right decision.”

Despite the red card, Ancelotti has said his team’s performance was not up to scratch after a brilliant run in the league.

“We didn’t play well. Southampton were better than us and they deserved to win.

“Sometimes you are not at your best, it came after a really good run for us, now we have to look forward with the same spirit and belief.

“We tried to get back into the game, we had some good control after half-time.”

The defeat will not however, be too downgrading for this Everton side as they still hold the top spot in the Premier league table.

“We don’t have to be too disappointed, we are still at the top of the table, which is an unbelievable achievement for us and we have to try to stay there.”

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