They got it wrong over send­ing off, says Pulis

Sunday Sun - - Football -

MID­DLES­BROUGH man­ager Tony Pulis felt the of­fi­cials got it wrong when they dis­missed Mo Besic dur­ing the 1-1 draw at home to Black­burn.

Besic was sent off in the 20th minute at the River­side Sta­dium, with ref­eree Si­mon Hooper show­ing a straight red card af­ter the Bos­nian mid­fielder pulled Bradley Dack’s shirt to pre­vent his op­po­nent break­ing clear into the box.

Hooper ini­tially looked to have missed the in­ci­dent but af­ter a pause when he ap­peared to re­ceive in­for­ma­tion via his ear­piece, he gave Besic his march­ing or­ders.

Pulis ac­cepts Besic tugged Dack’s shirt but reck­ons goal­keeper Dar­ren Ran­dolph would have got to the ball ahead of the Black­burn player.

He said: “The ref­eree doesn’t send him off – it’s the fourth of­fi­cial and the lines­man on our side. I’ll say it now – Besic does pull his shirt.

“But I be­lieve our goal­keeper was get­ting to the ball first be­fore their lad. I think it’s a yellow card, not a send­ing off.

“How they make that de­ci­sion from that dis­tance – and a de­ci­sion that ul­ti­mately changed the game – is be­yond me. I think you’ve got to be 110 per cent sure that you’re stop­ping him from scor­ing a goal, or stop­ping a clear-cut chance.”

Boro suf­fered a dou­ble pun­ish­ment, with Char­lie Mul­grew curl­ing home Black­burn’s opener from the free-kick that fol­lowed Besic’s de­par­ture.

At that stage, the Teessiders looked like suf­fer­ing a sec­ond suc­ces­sive home de­feat, but Pulis’ bold half­time changes al­tered the course of the game, with sub­sti­tute Britt As­som­ba­longa curl­ing home a mag­nif­i­cent equaliser mid­way through the sec­ond half.

Pulis added: “The sec­ond half was good. I just thought the send­ing off com­pletely knocked the stuff­ing out of the lads.

“It was dis­ap­point­ing for Fletch [Ash­ley Fletcher, who was sub­sti­tuted af­ter Besic’s dis­missal] be­cause we wanted to play him a lit­tle bit on the left-hand side, cut­ting in, and I think that was work­ing quite well up until the send­ing off.”

He added: “Then in the sec­ond half, you bring Britt on and you take a chance.”

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