Aug 19 (Reuters) - West Ham’s record signing Marko Arnautovic apologised to fans after receiving a straight red card in their 3-2 Premier League defeat at Southampton on Saturday.
The 28-year-old Austrian was dismissed with West Ham already a goal down in the 33th minute for elbowing Jack Stephens.
Although Arnautovic initially disputed the decision, holding his hands up in the air in feigned surprise, TV replays showed he clearly made contact with the Saints defender.
“I want to apologise to all of the West Ham fans. Just want to let you know that I didn’t want to let my team down and you fans. A big apology to you all,” he later posted on social media. The sending off left West Ham playing a man down for most of the game although they still managed to come back from a two-goal deficit before eventually going down 3-2 to a last-gasp penalty.
The defeat, following last week’s 4-0 drubbing at Manchester United, piles pressure on manager Slaven Bilic, who refused to reveal what he said to Arnautovic after the game.
“It is a big blow because you have to play with 10 men for a big part of the game,” he said. “We have spoken about everything and that will stay inside the dressing room.”
Last season Arnautovic was also sent off against Southampton while playing for Stoke City, who sold him to West Ham for around 24 million pounds ($30.89 million).
The defeat overshadowed a double from Javier Hernandez, the Mexican’s first goals for West Ham since his 16 million pound move from Bayer Leverkusen. ($1 = 0.7769 pounds) (Reporting by Neil Robinson, editing by Pritha Sarkar)