Alan Pardew felt referee Mark Clattenburg made two key errors that contributed to Crystal Palace’s extra-time defeat to Manchester United in the FA Cup final.
Palace went ahead through substitute Jason Puncheon, but Juan Mata equalised almost immediately before Jesse Lingard won it for United in the 110th minute.
Pardew felt the outcome could have been different had Clattenburg allowed play to go on when Chris Smalling brought down Connor Wickham in the first half – the former Sunderland man ran on to slot the ball past David de Gea – and also questioned the official’s decision not to award a penalty when Wayne Rooney tangled with Wilfried Zaha inside the area.
He told BT Sport: “The guys couldn’t have given me any more. It was a magnificent performance all round, it just wasn’t meant to be.
“He [Lingard] has come up with an unbelievable moment to win it.
“But Mark makes a mistake for the Connor one, you could see where I was that Connor was going to get up first. That was definitely a big mistake and I thought we should have had a penalty as Rooney doesn’t play the ball.
“We aren’t going to bleat about it though.”
Pardew opted to leave Puncheon on the bench, but praised the midfielder’s impact when he did make it on to the field.
He added: “It was a great goal, he was determined to show me that he should have started, that’s a good trait to have.
“He was brilliant when he came on, as they all were.
“We gave an unbelievable account of ourselves without winning it and that’s how it is sometimes. I am proud of what they gave me.”