x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Referee feels the ire of livid Warnock

Neil Warnock, the QPR manager, questioned the performance of Michael Oliver, the referee, after his side rescued a point with a 1-1 home draw against Aston Villa.

Neil Warnock, the QPR manager, questioned the performance of Michael Oliver, the referee, after his side rescued a point with a 1-1 home draw against Aston Villa.

The Hoops looked destined for defeat until Richard Dunne put through his own goal in the final seconds - Stephen Warnock's clearance catching him unawares and flying in for the ninth own goal of his Premier League career.

There had been controversy before that, though, with Villa taking the lead through a Barry Bannan penalty after Armand Traore was adjudged to have pulled Gabriel Agbonlahor's shirt.

Traore was booked - something Warnock disagreed with - and was then sent off for a second incident, his manager agreeing on this occasion.

But the manager was angry at Oliver's decision to award the initial penalty and his failure to award two spot kicks to his side for what he believed to be handballs by Alan Hutton.

"We're all disappointed at the decisions obviously, but I think we responded in the right way," Warnock told Sky Sports 1. "I think there could have been a couple of Villa players sent off for offences, two bookings.

"I think Traore was a little bit thick and naive, but we don't make a meal of it, we don't try and con the referee or anything.

"It's disappointing to be talking about referees ... there's nothing to referee in that game. Not one Aston Villa supporter appeals for a penalty. I bet there are 25,000 more tugs on that pitch.

"Referees should be seen and not heard but it takes away from our performance - I thought we were superb."

Warnock was speaking straight after the final whistle and, in an unusual move, returned to face the cameras for a second time having reviewed the incidents on tape.

He remained angry Hutton was not penalised for his "block" of a Tommy Smith cross, adding: "How has the linesman not seen that? He deliberately handballs it.

"And the second one, we're told that if you raise your hands it's a handball. He's raised his hands against Tommy Smith.

"But the first one is embarrassing. How that cannot be given a penalty ... he can't even say he's in a bad position.

"My boys deserve better than that. Traore's penalty, come on, I've never seen anything like that. He blows on him. He wants to give the penalty and it's wrong."

Alex McLeish, the Villa manager, had less to say than his opposite number, but felt Oliver had got the Agbonlahor call right.

"I was surprised nobody complained," he said. "Not a lot of Villa hands went up. I thought Gabby was impeded, but I'd have to see it again."