Bruce fumes at pen call
Referee Mason criticised for manner he handled second half appeal
Last Updated: November 5, 2011 8:21pm
Steve Bruce's post-match press conference after Sunderland's defeat to Manchester United was dominated by referee Lee Mason's decision to overrule his assistant's flag that had awarded a second half penalty to the away side.
The Black Cats boss extended his winless run against his former taskmaster to 18 matches, as Wes Brown's own goal on the stroke of half-time ensured Sir Alex Ferguson marked his 25-year anniversary at Old Trafford with a three-point haul.
Controversy and confusion was abound midway through the second half when Mason overruled his assistant's decision and replays were not clear as to whether the handball in the area was by Phil Jones or Ji Dong-won.
Although he accepted Mason eventually arrived at the correct decision, Bruce was deeply unhappy as to how he had drawn a conclusion that potentially denied his side a share of the spoils; which they probably would just about have deserved going off the balance of play over the 90 minutes.
"Ultimately they've got the right decision, I don't think we can argue with that, but it took me four times looking on the video monitor to see who handled it, and it was still difficult," said the Black Cats boss.
"When the linesman gave it, and when you watch the referee's reaction, he walks up, he's got information in his ear it's handball, it's a penalty, he goes and points to the spot.
"Once he's done that then he's been surrounded by the Manchester United players, and he's changed his decision.
"I'm not sure he knew straight away whether it was handball. They got the decision right, but the way they got there has left a bad taste.
"I think anybody in the ground would be lying if they said they knew it was a deliberate handball by a specific player.
"I said to the referee in the future he has to learn from it. In my opinion, he was guessing, and he guessed right. But he shouldn't be guessing."