LONDON: Bastian Schweinsteiger will contest his FA violent conduct charge for an alleged elbow on West Ham defender Winston Reid.

Schweinsteiger appeared to catch Reid in the throat with his outstretched left arm in the build-up to a first-half free-kick during Saturday’s goalless draw at Old Trafford.

Referee Mark Clattenburg spoke to both players to calm them down, but did not see the apparent elbow and it was therefore not mentioned in his post-match report.

That left the Football Association free to punish the midfielder retrospectively and the 31-year-old is facing a three-match ban if found guilty.

Already hampered by a lengthy injury list, United can ill afford to lose the influential player for their next three league games, which are against Bournemouth, Norwich and Stoke.

Reid and his manager, Slaven Bilic, both felt Schweinsteiger should have been sent off.

The defender said: “He knows what he’s done – he’s elbowed me in the face.”

Bilic said: “It’s a clear red card. A straight red without any doubts. It was a moment of madness. He deserved to be sent off, but the referee told me he didn’t see it. Fair enough, I believe it. It was an elbow.”

The FA added: “The matter was referred to a panel of three former elite referees who each reviewed the video footage independently of one another to determine whether they considered it a sending-off offence.

“For an FA charge to follow the decision by the panel must be unanimous.”