West Ham head coach Paul Konchesky said he will “stick up for my players” after being sent off during his side’s 2-1 victory away to Aston Villa in the Women’s Super League.
Hammers defender Hawa Cissoko received a red card after lashing out at Villa’s Sarah Mayling in added time.
Tensions flared again as Cissoko left the pitch, leading to a melee in the dugouts.
Irons boss Konchesky was sent off by referee Cheryl Foster in the aftermath.
“I did get sent down the tunnel with their guy. Is it a bit harsh? Probably because I’m sticking up for my player who’s getting stuff said to her,” said Konchesky.
“But I think that’s football and I’m looking after my players, so whatever the consequences I’ll take [them].
“We don’t want to see that happening in football, I get it. But like I said I will stick up for my players and so I have.”
Former England defender Konchesky added: “I’m not sure what really happened on the pitch, how it happened. I did see Hawa raise her hands but I see the opponent raise her hands as well.
“She stays on the pitch and Hawa gets sent off.
“As Hawa goes down the tunnel some of their staff are saying stuff to my players, which I don’t respect, so me and my staff will obviously stick up for my players and I think that’s why you see – not a scrap – but you see it all going on near the dugouts.
“It’s a bit like what’s gone on on the pitch.”
‘It shouldn’t be in the game’
Aston Villa manager Carla Ward said she had “never seen anything like it in the game” and called the scenes at the end of the match “ugly”.
“The punch in the face from Cissoko on Mayling is unacceptable, it’s not OK, it shouldn’t be in the game,” she said.
“The melee in the dugout is absolutely not OK from what I’ve seen.”
Ward was proud of the way her players responded to the altercation.
“I honestly don’t know what prompted it,” the Villa boss continued. “We prepped the girls all week that it was going to be a physical afternoon.
“Did we envision that physical? Did we envision that ugly? No.
“But credit to our players, they didn’t get involved and that’s really important because it’s important we stay focused on playing football.”