Neil Warnock expressed frustration after Cardiff City’s Premier League survival hopes were dealt a potentially fatal blow by losing 2-0 at Burnley in a game that saw a penalty decision overturned by Mike Dean.
Chris Wood’s double gave Burnley a big three points at Turf Moor on Saturday, but the key moment came when referee Dean initially pointed to the spot for handball against Ben Mee.
Mee inadvertently diverted the ball down on to himself, moments after the Burnley defender blocked Harry Arter’s shot with his arm.
But after consulting with his assistant Darren Cann, Dean signalled he was overturning the call, much to the fury of Warnock and Cardiff’s players, the Bluebirds seeing a further appeal rejected when Aron Gunnarsson went down in the box.
Cardiff were infuriated by decisions against them in a recent Premier League loss at home to Chelsea, with Warnock charged by the Football Association (FA) for his post-match comments.
And, although the veteran manager was keen not to find himself under further FA scrutiny, he could not contain his annoyance at the penalty decision belatedly reached by Dean and his officials.
“There were two handballs really, you only have to look at the player’s reaction,” Warnock said to BBC Sport.
“[Mee] looked so guilty and the second one we felt there was a movement of the hand towards the ball.
“Mike must have seen something to go over and we’re gutted really. I think Darren made the right decision and Mike has talked him out of it.
“We gave Burnley too much credit really, I felt we could have done with more devilment in the final third. Our lads keep getting kicked in the teeth really, week after week.
“My lads should surround the referee really, they [Burnley] had three lads in his ear straight away. I’m looking forward to hearing what they [the officials] say – I’m sure when I get in there they’ll all be singing from the same hymn sheet. Can I say I’m lost for words?
“Once we get over the disappointment we have to get ready for Tuesday [against relegation rivals Brighton and Hove Albion].”
That’s 27 points from 15 games for the Clarets pic.twitter.com/mHgJGdRTxg
— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) April 13, 2019
Burnley are almost sure of safety after a third consecutive Premier League win moved the Clarets 11 points clear of Cardiff in 18th place, with manager Sean Dyche backing Dean’s eventual decision.
“I wasn’t happy at first because the linesman gave the penalty from 70 yards away and you can’t give penalties from 70 yards away,” Dyche told reporters.
“And I think the referee has officiated that moment really well. I’ve looked at it back and it hits Ben Mee in the face and slid down his arm. For me, there’s no chance it can be a penalty and it’s very brave [of the referee] by the way.
“We’ve had enough [decisions] go against us – I know Cardiff have as well. But it’s not a penalty. I know Neil won’t agree, I’ve known him for a long time. I haven’t spoken to him about it. It’s a tough call, it’s a big call but it’s the right call.
“We would say it’s a difficult marker for Cardiff to chase now, so we’re in a healthy position. By half-time the game should be over, but credit to Cardiff in the second half because they gave it a real go.
“People will talk about being safe but we want to make sure factually, it is a big gap and an important gap. We have 27 points from 15 games, the lads have been terrific. The history of the Premier League suggests we are in a very strong position.”
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