Everton boss David Moyes admitted midfielder Marouane Fellaini should have been sent off in the 1-1 draw at Stoke, branding the Belgium international's apparent headbutt on Ryan Shawcross as "not acceptable".
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Fellaini is facing the prospect of retrospective action from the Football Association over the incident in the second half - seemingly missed by the match officials - where he appeared to thrust his head into the face of Shawcross as the two men jostled with each other for position in the box.
Moyes said after the game that Everton would accept any punishment for Fellaini's actions, admitting he thought they had warranted a red card and emphasising that he would not stand for that sort of thing from his players.
"We will take the punishment if it is given for it," Moyes said.
"I have told him (Fellaini) in the dressing room that it is not acceptable - I won't accept it as a manager that he does that."
Fellaini later issued an apology on the club's official website and aid: "I apologise completely to Ryan Shawcross, my team-mates and to our fans at the game.
"There was a lot of pushing and pulling going on inside the Stoke penalty area and I didn't feel I was getting any protection from the officials.
"Nevertheless I know I shouldn't have done what I did.
"I have also apologised to the manager and the staff. I have no excuses, I was disappointed with the way I was being treated and I lost my temper, which was unprofessional of me."
Asked how he might compensate for losing a player as influential as Fellaini to suspension should the 25-year-old be handed a ban by the FA, Moyes said: "There is no absence yet, but he is a really good player and a big part of the team, and that is why I think the biggest disappointment, if anything does happen, is that he will have let the team down."
He added: "I only normally complain if I think we are getting hard done by and I have said a few things about how I think we have been treated by decisions recently.
"So I think if you are going to talk about it with your own team... Today, it should have been a sending-off in the game.
"If the referee (Mark Halsey) had been able to see it, it should have been."
Stoke manager Tony Pulis claimed Fellaini had in fact been guilty of three unpunished offences, and referenced others he felt had been committed by different players against his team this season.
"I'll say this - David Luiz's challenge on Jon Walters (in a 1-0 defeat at Chelsea), Ciaran Clark's challenge on Glenn Whelan last week (in a 0-0 draw at Aston Villa), and then the three incidents today," Pulis said.
"I thought the rules were set out in stone. I like Mark Halsey and I think he's a good referee, but I don't know whether he has seen it.
"If he has seen it and not acted, then you really want to know why he has not acted."
He added: "I don't think you can hide behind anything and what he (Fellaini) has done is wrong."
The result was both Stoke and Everton's ninth Barclays Premier League draw of the campaign and they remain ninth and fourth in the table respectively.
The Toffees, who had had penalty appeals turned down early on when Whelan appeared to make a block with his arm in the box, took the lead in the 36th minute through Shawcross' own-goal, the centre-back inadvertently nodding in a Steven Pienaar cross.
Leon Osman wasted a clear opportunity to make it 2-0 just before the interval by blasting wide and the Potters capitalised after the restart with Kenwyne Jones heading home an equaliser in the 52nd minute, his first top-flight goal for 16 months.
That effort from Jones - who subsequently hit the post - proved enough to preserve Stoke's unbeaten home league record, which stretches back to February, and they have now gone without defeat in their last seven games.
Reflecting on the contest, Pulis said: "I thought it was a very even first half.
"I haven't seen it, but they tell me that Everton were unlucky not to get a penalty from what might have been a handball by Glenn.
"Then, I thought the big incident in the game was when Osman missed his opportunity - that was the changing point of the game for me.
"If we had gone in 2-0 down at half-time, it would have been very difficult for us to get back.
"I spoke to them at half-time and said 'we have been let out of jail with that one - let's push up an extra 10 or 15 yards and see what they are like when they have to defend properly'.
"Then I thought we created four or five great opportunities in the second half.
"We are disappointed in the end not to have won the game."