Stoke boss Tony Pulis feels defeat to Norwich City is real kick in the teeth
Tony Pulis exited Carrow Road with a sense of injustice after insisting his Stoke side were on the wrong end of two key refereeing decisions in the Potters' 1-0 Premier League defeat.
The experienced manager renewed his pleas for the officials to get extra retrospective help following Charlie Adam's first half caution for simulation.
Pulis' ire was compounded by the circumstances surrounding Bradley Johnson's superb match-winning header when Andy Wilkinson was also booked after the left-back was adjudged to have clipped Robert Snodgrass. Pulis revealed he spoke to referee Andre Marriner immediately following the game to make his feelings crystal clear.
'The goal was disappointing. I have just seen it on the television and I have been in to see the referee. I just thought it certainly wasn't a free kick,' he said. 'When the lad falls both Andre and the linesman are so close to it. He has booked Charlie in the first half for diving. I have had a look at that and (Javier) Garrido pushed him, so that is a double kick in the teeth when he gets both of those decisions wrong and even worse they score from it.
'I thought that the officials got the decisions wrong, and they were big decisions for us. On the basis that the referee has booked Charlie for what he perceives to be a dive, even though Garrido has pushed him in the back, the lad has then gone down for the free kick which leads to their goal, when Wilko has not made any contact with him.'
Pulis was diplomatic when pressed whether he was suggesting Snodgrass had actually conned the officials.
'No, all I am saying is if you look at it again, or the referee and his assistant look at it again, I don't think Andy Wilkinson touches him. I have seen it three times,' he said. 'How many mistakes did we make today? How many did Norwich? The thing is the referee's mistakes will always be highlighted. The disappointing thing is that has led to the goal. You hope and pray every time you play a game of football that the referee doesn't have an influence on the game. I think what we have to appreciate is that he has given the decision he sees on the day. He sees it different to what I have. When it sees it on the television he might have a different opinion.'
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The Stoke boss is adamant some form of panel should convene to adjudicate on the most contentious issues following each weekend's Premier League games.
'It should be retrospective on Mondays. I think there should be a panel that sits because we are adding more pressure on to them,' he said. 'That panel would decide whether a player has dived or not. The referee should only make the decision if he is absolutely 100pc certain that someone has cheated. That would take a bit of pressure off referees, which I am all for. I think the referees could look at the game again and he picks the (contentious) ones and he sends them off to the panel. Having said that, maybe Alan Hansen would pick them for him.'
Pulis conceded Stoke's profligacy in front of John Ruddy's goal had also ensured Johnson's athletic header decided the game.
'Apart from the cross in the first half that went right across the goal I can't remember Asmir (Begovic) having to making a save,' he said. 'Second half, I thought we looked like the home team and the two best chances of the game fell to Jon (Walters) and Kenwyne (Jones). You look at his chance and he is so good in the air, but he heads it straight at Ruddy. Normally he would head that in, so its disappointing for us to come away with nothing. We've got to start taking our chances. you look at Jon's chance and you look at Kenwyne's and they've got to be goals in the Premier League. Once again this season, we've played a game which we didn't deserve to lose and, personally, I think we should have won the match.'
Stoke's display was symptomatic of the visitors' early season form, according to their manager.
'It has been like that for five or six games. We have to start winning games. I think I have a better squad here and we play some good football at times,' said Pulis. 'We played on angles when we had to and with the likes of Charlie and one or two others in the side they will keep the ball better and move it. But I don't want negative possession when it goes backwards and sideways. I always want positive. Some disagree with it, but that is the way it is. We are better this year but we need to get the results to show we are better.'