Mark Hughes, the Fulham manager, accused Stoke's Andy Wilkinson of ignoring the footballer's code by making an "absolutely ridiculous" challenge on Moussa Dembele in the closing stages of their tie at the Britannia Stadium last night.
With Stoke 2-0 up, Wilkinson received a booking in the third minute of stoppage time for bringing down Dembele, who clutched at his left leg and had to be carried off on a stretcher. The Belgium forward departed the stadium on crutches and Hughes was was left wondering what Wilkinson could have had been thinking when he made the tackle.
"The next 24 hours will show us how bad the injury is," Hughes said. "If he has avoided serious injury then he has been a very lucky boy because the tackle that took him out was, from my point of view, an absolutely ridiculous challenge at that stage of the game.
"When you are at that stage of the game and your team is leading 2-0, there is a certain code I would suggest that you look after your fellow professional, and the lad has ignored that," Hughes added
"There was no need for the challenge at that late stage in the game and he has put a fellow professional's career at risk by the nature of it. I don't know what the hell he was thinking about to be perfectly honest."
Danny Higginbotham gave the Potters the lead in the 23rd minute, arriving at the far post to convert Matthew Etherington's corner. Kenwyne Jones wrapped up the victory with his third goal in three games, rising to meet Rory Delap's throw-in with 11 minutes remaining.