AGGRIEVED Huddersfield Town head coach David Wagner believes that the hugely controversial dismissal of Steve Mounie will foster a siege mentality among his Terriers players.
Wagner was incandescent with rage at the performance of referee Michael Oliver in his side’s 2-1 Premier League home loss to Brighton on Saturday – on an afternoon when Town played with 10 men for just under an hour after Mounie’s sending off.
The Benin striker was shown a straight red card for a 32nd-minute challenge on Albion midfielder Yves Bissouma – a decision which provoked widespread fury among Town supporters.
It was compounded by the sight of Brighton substitute Leon Balogun escaping with a late caution after a nasty tackle on Erik Drum, with Town also indignant at Oliver’s failure to point to the spot after Alex Pritchard went down under pressure from Pascal Gross just before the break.
But it was Mounie’s sending-off which proved the game-changing moment, with Town having led thanks to a strike after just 54 seconds from Mathias Zanka, with the visitors making the most of their numerical advantage to run out winners.
It made for a tough afternoon for Wagner, with Brighton counterpart Chris Hughton admitting to having sympathy for the German after the game.
This will bring us even more together as a group to show everybody that is important. You only like to have the feeling that you are judged fairly and this was not the caseHuddersfield Town boss, David Wagner
Wagner, whose side face back-to-back trips to Bournemouth and Arsenal this week, said: “When the big decisions go against you, football makes for no fun and no football team has a chance of being successful.
“What I can say about my players is that I really like how they fought and tried to keep their heads high against these decisions as it was not easy, for sure.
“But this will bring us even more together as a group to show everybody that is important. You only like to have the feeling that you are judged fairly and this was not the case (on Saturday).
“Even though I can clearly say that no referee does this on purpose, we have seen a football match and can only speak about this refereeing decision and we are right only to speak about this.
“To be totally honest, I do not like to speak about anything else rather than this (Mounie) decision because this decision influenced and disturbed the match. And this is why it was no fun.”
Brighton chief Hughton added: “If I am David, then I would be feeling aggrieved. It is normal when it is your own player as probably these are sendings off that a good few years ago would not have been. But it is more difficult for the referees now. The game has changed.”