Uwe Rosler blamed “ruthless” Middlesbrough and a “poor day” for referee Neil Swarbrick and his officials after Leeds United suffered a controversial and error-strewn 3-0 defeat yesterday.
Rosler admitted that Leeds had invited trouble with mistakes for each of Boro’s goals but hit out at Swarbrick’s reading of two pivotal moments at The Riverside.
Boro strengthened their hold on second place in the Championship with goals from David Nugent and Diego Fabbrini and an own goal from Leeds centre-back Giuseppe Bellusci but United were aggrieved by events shortly after half-time.
Boro forward Cristhian Stuani was spared a second yellow card for a heavy, 48th-minute foul on Charlie Taylor as United chased a 2-0 deficit. A tackle on Taylor during the first half had earned the Uruguayan a yellow card.
Rosler was further incensed by the decision of referee Swarbrick and assistant Scott Ledger to disallow a strike from Mirco Antenucci for offside in the 56th minute.
Boro, who were leading 2-0 through Nugent’s second-minute strike and Bellusci’s wayward diving header on 32 minutes, went on to seal Leeds’ second defeat of the season through Fabbrini’s effort nine minutes from time.
Rosler said: “We played our part in a good, entertaining match. We’ve been punished by ruthless Middlesbrough and a referee who had a poor day.
“He got the two major decisions wrong. Stuani should not have been on the pitch.
“He got that wrong. If a Leeds United player made the number of fouls Stuani did on Charlie Taylor, a Leeds United player would have gone off.
“With the goal, he (the linesman) was on top of it.
“He told me that he had to ask for help from the referee. Just imagine – he had to ask for help from the referee. So he wasn’t sure about the decision. How can he give offside when you’re not sure?”
Antenucci appeared to have pulled a goal back when he fired the ball past Boro goalkeeper Dimi Konstantopoulos after Gaetano Berardi’s volley deflected to him six yards from goal.
Ledger initially failed to raise his flag but eventually ruled the finish offside after speaking with Swarbrick on the touchline.
Replays afterwards were largely inconclusive.
“A decision like that is the turning point in the game,” Rosler said.
“He has to be 100 per cent sure that it’s the right decision. Even when you watch the television, nobody is 100 per cent sure.”
Rosler was nonetheless left to count the cost of mistakes which gifted Boro three goals in a match where Aitor Karanka’s side produced only two shots on target.
Fabbrini struck at the end of a second half which Leeds dominated, rounding Marco Silvestri after Sol Bamba lost his footing and allowed the Italian through on goal.
“The players did everything we wanted to do and the game turned out as we expected,” said Rosler, who lost striker Chris Wood to injury beforehand.
“Middlesbrough don’t create many chances and they don’t need many chances with the quality of players they have.
“The first goal we helped them with and they scored. In the second half, they did not have one shot on goal (until Fabbrini’s strike). They relied on their quality and organisation. We tried everything and we tried the right way.
“I can’t blame any player. We looked like scoring in the first half and even more in the second half. This is why I’m not really frustrated.”