They got it wrong over sending off, says Pulis
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.”