Former West Ham United goalkeeper Shaka Hislop has claimed that Jose Mourinho's antics have scared the FA and dissuaded them to hand Romelu Lukaku a three-game ban, which any other player not wearing the Manchester United jersey would have had to serve.
Lukaku appeared to kick out at Brighton and Hove Albion defender Gaetan Bong during United's 1-0 Premier League win at home last weekend but the FA panel decided it did not warrant any further action, meaning he is available for the upcoming games against Arsenal and Manchester City, while also playing a part against Watford on Tuesday, 28 November.
Lukaku featured for 90 minutes on Saturday, 25 November, as the Red Devils edged past the newly-promoted side courtesy of an unfortunate own goal from Lewis Dunk. But fears that he could face suspension later emerged after he was caught on camera appearing to kick out at left-back Bong during a 66th-minute tussle at a corner.
Although still comfortably United's top-scorer with 12 goals to his name in 20 appearances across all competitions to date, the Belgium international has now netted in only one of his last 10 appearances at club level – a late effort in the 4-1 comeback defeat of Newcastle United on 18 November.
He will now face competition from Zlatan Ibrahimovic for a place in the squad after the Swede made a miraculous return from injury, well before schedule.
However, Hislop cannot shrug off the idea that a different player from another club would have been at the end of a punishment if the tables were turned.
"But, you cannot convince me that had this been another player, playing for another club in the bottom half of the table, playing for a West Ham or an Everton, that they would be facing a three-game suspension. And nobody would question it and we would say that's absolutely right, don't get me wrong.
"We would say a three-game suspension for Andy Carroll doing exactly this is exactly right – 'What is Andy Carroll thinking? You're leaving your team in the lurch.'
"But it's Romelu Lukaku, it's Manchester United, all the things that come with playing for Manchester United and, as a result, the FA take a softly-softly approach to it.
"There's so much about this that does not make sense or does not add up for me in terms of the FA's approach."