Birmingham City boss Pep Clotet blasts refereeing decision and Championship officiating after madcap defeat by Leeds United

Pet Clotet blasted a refereeing decision he said cost his Birmingham City side a deserved point at home to Leeds United.

Sunday, 29th December 2019, 6:13 pm
Updated Sunday, 29th December 2019, 6:14 pm
Pep Clotet rounded on Championship referees after today's game (Pic: Getty)

The Blues were on the wrong end of a 5-4 scoreline in a madcap game at St Andrew's.

They came back from an early 2-0 deficit before levelling twice more, before Leeds grabbed a fifth deep in stoppage time.

It was referee Keith Stroud's decision to award Leeds a corner in the lead up to that goal that riled Clotet most, but he was generally unhappy with the official's performance.

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"We started well," he began.

"A few mistakes put us 2-0 down and it could have been a very difficult situation. We stayed focus on what we're very good at, what we can do to hurt Leeds. We succeeded to come back into the game, we showed determination and resilience, despite knowing we are playing a top opposition who can score at any moment, even though it was dangerously open. I believe in high pressing, a similar type of football to Leeds that we want to be loyal to. We knew we'd be dealing with a lot of situations but we managed to get back into the game three times. We would have got a result had the referee not given them a corner, it is a very clear goal kick. Leeds benefited from a lot of the decisions that went strangely their way the whole game."

Clotet has been unimpressed by what he's seen from referees this season, so much so that he says the FA have planned to come and address the situation with the Blues.

"I am very unhappy for most of the performances we've had from referees this season," he said.

"I understand they're human but today again it affected the result. It can be a mistake but I don't think you can make a mistake when it's a goal kick or a corner, only one player touching the ball. It's always happening to Birmingham City and I'm very disappointed. We always say to the FA, they agreed with us, we've had a lot of decisions against us this season, possibly last season as well. They want to come and see us and talk about it at the beginning of January. What we want is to be treated fairly as the rest of the clubs."

On the game as a whole, Clotet felt his men deserved a point.

"It should have been a draw," he said.

"'I'm sure Leeds should have been very happy with a draw as well.

"What the team did today, despite the things we want to do better, I am very positive. That is the right way we want to go. A team like Leeds United expose you individually a little more, it is normal that they use your mistakes and have a lot of quality to make it difficult.

"We didn't get the point we should have had but it's about looking forward and taking all the positives."

Clotet said the Blues planned to hurt Leeds from set-pieces and crosses late on, which came to pass.

"We knew we could hurt them a lot on set-plays. We're very strong on set-plays because we need it. That was the main part of the goals we've scored. We knew that when a situation would come to the last few minutes of the game it would open up a lot and we could hurt them with crosses as well. That's why Bela and Montero came on. Scoring four goals against Leeds should make all the lads very proud."

Before the game he said Birmingham need to show patience and follow Leeds' example in developing a team over more than one season, so they can then close the distance between the Blues and the Whites.

Today's result put Leeds top of the Championship, 22 points ahead of today's hosts, who sit 17th.

"We managed to come back to a team like Leeds three times, scored four goals against them," he said.

"They're clearly much ahead of us. But there are no excuses, we are not satisfied. We want to shorten the distance between us and Leeds this season and contend for something strong as soon as we get better.

"It just shows that despite the performance being good, there's a difference between us and them that makes the points go to them. That's the distance between us and them.

"When you play against these teams and put in good performances like that, it shows the team is progressing well. In my opinion we should give the team a lot of credit. Everyone tipped us before the season to go down. No one gave us any chance and the team is in a very good position."