'An unbelievably bad decision' - Lee Johnson fumes at referee after Bristol City's loss to Leeds United

Lee Johnson admitted Leeds United were the better side en route to a win over his Bristol City, but was disappointed with a 'ridiculous' decision by referee Tim Robinson.

Saturday, 15th February 2020, 6:21 pm
Updated Saturday, 15th February 2020, 6:22 pm

The Robins gaffer was adamant his men should have been awarded a spot-kick in the second half.

He criticised a number of his players for 'hiding' when Bristol City had the ball and revealed players were playing through illness, but he made no bones about who played better at Elland Road, in a game Leeds won 1-0.

"I thought Leeds were the better side throughout the game," he said.

Sign up to our Leeds United newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

"I thought in the first 15, 20 minutes we didn't accept that we needed to do certain things and have a certain amount of bravery to go and influence the game. That was what really disappointed me. We got done by too many one-twos.

"A couple hid in terms of in possession. A couple on the pitch shouldn't have been there in regard to the illnesses we've had in the camp.At half time I wasn't best pleased. That's not discrediting Leeds, but my side didn't play like a Bristol City side like I want them to play.

"It was quite a strong message, to have some guts and get on the ball and try and play as we know we can. I thought we did that in the second half, for the most part of the second half. We made a game of it."

Johnson was riled by referee Robinson's decision that Luke Ayling had not handled the ball in his penalty area when he blocked a second half shot, because he felt it could have changed the game.

Lee Johnson believed his side were denied a '100 per cent' penalty against Leeds United at Elland Road (Pic: Getty)

"It's an unbelievably bad decision from the referee for the penalty, 100 per cent a penalty for Ayling's handball," said the Robins boss.

"You'll see that if you watch that. Again I'm not discrediting Leeds because they were very good but that could potentially swing momentum. He has to get that right in a game as big as this one. Not just the referee but his assistant, his fourth official who is looking right down the barrel. It's ridiculous how it's not a penalty.

"Leeds were the better side, I can't really grumble at the fact we got beat but we had an opportunity there to go and score a penalty. [We also had] Nahki's chance, but they definitely had more chances and more possession. Credit to them."

Leeds would have enjoyed a more comfortable margin of victory had it not been for the performance of Daniel Bentley in goal for the Robins.

He saved brilliantly, twice, from Helder Costa, the second of which was a scarcely believable top after being beaten to the ball initially by the Portuguese.

"He was very good, he's a very good goalkeeper," said Johnson.

"We're delighted to have him. On occasions he has been the difference for us. It's important to keep him fit and motivated and take the pressure off him a bit by showing the guts to play."

Bristol City remain in seventh despite the defeat and only find themselves outside the play-of positions on the merit of goal difference. Sixth-placed Preston were beaten by Millwall, while fourth and fifth-placed Brentford and Nottingham Forest both drew.

So Johnson was not too downbeat about today's result at Elland Road.

"1-0 away at Leeds, is it an absolute disaster? No. It was almost like a draw with the other results and the way they went," he said.

"It shows how competitive the Championship is and we are competitive. Leeds have been the better team on the day, I'm saying we are a competitive side. The players should have the confidence to go and produce their best game in the remaining fixtures.

"We just have to be better against the top teams. We were a bit naive. We gave it a go but it didn't quite happen."