'Our referees are so poor' - Sky pundit delivers verdict on Sheffield United penalty claim against Fulham

Graeme Souness has backed Sheffield United in the penalty controversy surrounding the Blades loss to Fulham on Saturday.

Sky Sports TV pundit and former footballer Graeme Souness looks on as he is interviewed during Day Ten of the 2020 William Hill World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace on December 22, 2019.

Chris Wilder’s side were denied a late penalty in their 1-0 defeat at Fulham, which led Souness to launch a scathing attack on Premier League referees.

Jayden Bogle was seemingly fouled by goalkeeper Alphonse Areola with the Blades pushing for a late equaliser in the relegation clash Craven Cottage.

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Incredibly, though, neither referee Martin Atkinson nor the VAR deemed the challenge worthy of a spot-kick, prompting an outcry from fans and pundits alike.

Roy Keane, Jose Mourinho and Graeme Souness sit in the television studio during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford on October 20, 2019.

"If that challenge, I'm reluctant to call it a tackle, if that challenge happens anywhere else on the football pitch, it's a sending-off! Not just a penalty, it's a sending-off," Souness said to Sky Sports.

"I just don't get referees.

"They make it up as they go along, referees, they really do. What planet are they on?

"The problem we have with referees is they're just not very good, the last World Cup how many English referees did we have? None. That's how good our referees are.

"That is an assault. I'm not saying he has gone deliberately to hurt him but that is a foul all day long, it's a penalty all day long and for me, it's a sending-off.

"They really do make it up as they go along. When I played it was 'it's okay, you've got the ball first and then his momentum takes the player out', today it's he got the ball first but the momentum then injured the player so it's a foul.

"That is what you are describing there, that is a penalty seven days a week and I just don't know where they get these referees from.

"We saw one in the first game [Liverpool vs Everton] with [Dominic] Calvert-Lewin, for me that's not a penalty on Trent Alexander[-Arnold], he has fallen over before he gets to Trent Alexander[-Arnold]. It's not a penalty and that is definitely a penalty.

"100%, all day long. I can't back Chris Wilder up any more, that is a penalty all day long. It's a ridiculous decision by another very, very poor referee."

Ademola Lookman put Fulham ahead with his second-half strike at Craven Cottage.

The defeat marks Sheffield United’s 20th of the campaign so far and leaves the Blades 14 points from safety at the foot of the Premier League – and with just 16 fixtures left to play.

"Look how high he is, he came out and said it was a 50-50 challenge, but he's endangering the opposition," Sounes continued.

"The quicker we get a different setup for referees and get some ex-players into the game... because we're in great danger of killing the Premier League with these referees and the Premier League has the power to come up with a different way with the referees.

"Ex-players should be involved in our game, they've had their chance, our referees are so poor. So poor.

"There are lots of ex-players who would like to referee.

"Ones who have finished with injury, not everyone plays in the Premier League and earns serious money.

"Get some ex-pros trained up and you won't have incidents like that where managers are tearing their hair out all the way back from Sheffield."