Bruce - Ref not ready
Steve Bruce criticised the standard of refereeing after West Ham beat Wigan 1-0 in a game which both sides finished with ten men.
By Steve Pass
Last Updated: 05/03/09 8:13am
Wigan boss Steve Bruce criticised the standard of refereeing after West Ham beat his side 1-0 in a game which both teams finished with ten men.
Referee Stuart Attwell sent off Carlton Cole for two yellow cards as well as Lee Cattermole for a straight red.
He also issued six yellow cards, not including Cole's first, but failed to send off Lucas Neill for what was arguably the worst tackle of the evening on Cattermole.
Before he was sent off for a high challenge, Cole got the winner in the 34th minute, finishing off a sublime one-touch Hammers' passing move.
Bruce told Sky Sports: "It was one of those nights where again we are going to be talking about refereeing incidents where I have to say I feel for the lad today, Mr Attwell, because the big decisions he's got wrong for me - Carlton Cole should have stayed on the pitch, and that spoils the spectacle then and makes it even more difficult for us.
"But the big decisions - Cattermole's got to go I suppose - but how Lucas Neill stays on the pitch after his tackle - he's only on the pitch because he's (the referee) probably thinking 'well, hang on a minute, I've already sent someone off in the first-half.'
"He's put himself under enormous pressure with that. The last thing I want to do is come on here again and speak about referees because at the end of the day we've lost the game - and deserved to lose the game. I've got no complaints about that - but when I keep seeing these decisions and I think, Mr Attwell unfortunately I don't think he's quite ready yet and for me the fourth official is coaching him towards the end -which I think we've got to stop as well."
He said Neill's tackle - for which he received a yellow card - was the worst of the night.
"They're the ones that break legs and damage people, and we all don't want to see that and Lucas Neill has been around for years and he'll look at that tonight and I'm sure he'll agree with everybody saying that it was a shocker of a tackle and one where he deserved to get a red card," said Bruce.
"West Ham then changed from attacking us and making it a bit open to just getting right behind the ball and rightly so and they've done it well, defended well, and as I said deserved the victory," said a disappointed Bruce.
"We must make sure that we are not going to ruin it and make sure that the referees are obviously capable because we know that they have got an awful job, but the big decisions they have got to get right and unfortunately, tonight they have spoilt the game and the big decisions, Mr Attwell, has unfortunately got wrong in my opinion."