Blues defender hits out at Atkinson

26 April 2010 07:41
irmingham defender Roger Johnson branded Martin Atkinson "a disgrace" after he awarded Aston Villa a debatable penalty in a 1-0 win on Sunday.[LNB] James Milner converted the spot-kick in the 83rd-minute to settle the second City derby at Villa Park and move the home side level on points with fourth-placed Tottenham in the Premier League.[LNB]But McLeish was adamant that Johnson had won the ball in the challenge on Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor which led to the penalty award and the defender certainly agreed.[LNB]The former Cardiff player said: "The decision regarding the penalty was a disgrace. I thought the referee was a disgrace the whole game through if I'm being honest.[LNB]"The rules are if you are not sure about a decision, you don't give a penalty and the referee was a million miles away from the incident.[LNB]"The linesman could see it better than the referee. But the crowd are getting the sound up and he (the referee) bottled it for me. It is an outrageous decision."[LNB]Johnson added: "Did the referee explain the decision? Don't be silly. Referees don't talk to you. They just say 'go away'.[LNB]"You can't talk to them. They all ask for respect but you can't talk to them so it is a waste of time."[LNB]McLeish, meanwhile, echoed the feelings of Stoke boss Tony Pulis that bigger teams have more decisions going in their favour.[LNB]McLeish said: "It was a bad mistake by the referee. It's a shame he gets such a big decision wrong in such a big game.[LNB]"I am not questioning his fitness but Agbonlahor, with his pace, is difficult to keep up with.[LNB]"The referee was so far behind and he surmised it was a penalty. I have defended referees a lot but I can't defend that one. He got it wrong.[LNB]"Roger Johnson has made a name for himself with that kind of tackle. He got the ball cleanly.[LNB]"Tony Pulis has said he feels bigger teams get more decisions throughout the course of the season and today was evidence of that."[LNB]Villa boss Martin O'Neill had a different perspective on the situation after viewing a slow-motion replay of the incident.[LNB]He said: "From the bit I've seen, Johnson has caught Gabby's legs. If he has got the ball first, it becomes a separate issue.[LNB]"But from the slow motion, it looks as if he wrapped his legs around Agbonlahor and it was a penalty.[LNB]"Referees are now saying it doesn't matter if you touch the ball first. If you are following through with intent, it is a foul.[LNB]"If Johnson has got a clean touch on the ball then I will change what I think."[LNB]Villa made sure of at least a Europa League spot by defeating their local rivals but O'Neill has his sights higher.[LNB]He said: "It has been a great week for us and the consequence of winning today is that we have qualified for Europe.[LNB]"We will go into the last two games and give it everything. Manchester City away next week will be exceptionally hard but we will have to try and win."[LNB]O'Neill conceded that Birmingham may have deserved something from the game and only a string of fine saves by Brad Friedel kept them in contention before Milner's penalty.[LNB]"Birmingham might feel aggrieved because they played very well in the second half," he added.[LNB]"Friedel was magnificent. On the second-half performance, they deserved something from the game."[LNB]McLeish took consolation from the performance of his players in contrast to the 5-1 defeat in the last Villa Park derby two years ago.[LNB]He said: "You tend to think the world is against you when you get a decision like the penalty after playing so well.[LNB]"But I am proud of the players. They were magnificent today. Villa edged the first half, but Friedel made three or four great saves."

Source: Team_Talk