Gary Rowett was left fuming at two of the match officials after Millwall’s 2-0 loss to Middlesbrough today – insisting the visitors opening goal should never have stood.
Referee Tim Robinson did not penalise Ashley Fletcher as he appeared to clip the heels of Jake Cooper, the Boro man allowed to race clear and square for Britt Assombalonga to convert in the 68th minute.
“You don’t need VAR when the linesman is two yards away – if you need that you shouldn’t be officiating,” said Rowett.
“We find ourselves 1-0 down because the linesman didn’t do his job properly. I’m not saying it was intentional, or anything like that. They got the wrong decision.
“At the time it felt like a trip and it was a trip, simple as that.
“The way Middlesbrough came and set up – 5-3-2, very physical, very direct, took a lot of time with throw-ins and goal-kicks, which they are entitled to do, meant I always felt that one moment was going to decide the game.
“Whilst I would have liked it to have been a moment of quality from our players, we certainly didn’t show enough quality today and I’m not going to excuse our performance – because it wasn’t good enough – but it was a blatant trip.
“He [Fletcher] didn’t mean to do it, but he’s caught his foot. You can see the way Jake Cooper falls over. You have to make what looks to be the very obvious decision, because it’s so controversial if you get it wrong – it changes the game.
“Unfortunately today the referee and linesman got it horribly wrong between them. I can only be disappointed with that. Those moments open the game up. Their second goal comes from us chasing the game and trying to get back into it.”
PICTURE BY KEITH GILLARD
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