Late penalty hurts Southgate

13 March 2008 08:10
Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate is considering changing his approach towards referees after hitting out at the decision to award Aston Villa a penalty in Wednesday's 1-1 draw. Boro had looked to be on course for three vital points in their battle to beat the drop after Stewart Downing fired them into a first-half lead at Villa Park. But the home side were given the opportunity to earn a point when referee Steve Bennett ruled Luke Young handled an Ashley Young cross in the box. "We are maintaining our policy about not complaining about referees but I do question whether it is helping us," said a disgruntled Southgate. "I have seen the incident again and our lad has got his back to the play. "The shot is hit from only a couple of yards away and I don't see the handball is anything but involuntary. "I'm bitterly disappointed for my players because we've done so well tonight. "Yes, we should have wrapped the game up with a couple of chances we had, but we are fighting for our lives and the penalty was a very difficult decision to take." Meanwhile, Southgate believes his players won back some respect from their supporters following their dismal FA Cup quarter-final exit at the weekend to Cardiff City. "I said we couldn't guarantee a result at Villa but we could guarantee the right attitude and right type of performance," he continued. "We have gone a tiny step to regaining some of the respect we lost from our fans the other day. "We have still got a long way to go but it was an important point."

Source: ESA