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Neil Warnock jokes that family ties are helping Steve Cooper and Swansea

Derby County v Middlesbrough – Sky Bet Championship – Pride Park Stadium
(Image credit: Bradley Collyer)

Neil Warnock laughed off his comment that Swansea are benefiting from controversial refereeing decisions because manager Steve Cooper’s father Keith was a former top-flight official.

Warnock’s Middlesbrough were beaten 2-1 at Swansea as Andre Ayew converted a penalty in the seventh minute of stoppage time – the second time in four days that the Welsh side have scored a late spot-kick to win.

“The penalty at Stoke the other night was scandalous,” Warnock said.

“They must be laughing their heads off at the minute but what goes around comes around. I’m sure we’ll see Swansea (in the Championship) next year.

“They can’t keep having that much luck with penalties. I don’t know if it’s Cooper’s dad who’s influencing this.

“He must have all the numbers. It’s the only thing I can think of but, joking apart, they can’t keep having decisions like that.”

Warnock predicted he would receive another apology from referees’ boss Alan Wiley after Boro’s play-off hopes were dented.

Boro were denied a point – Sam Morsy had stuck at the start of injury time to cancel out Ayew’s first effort after 40 minutes – when referee Gavin Ward, having initially pointed for a corner, awarded Swansea a penalty.

The visitors were also denied what appeared a legitimate goal at the start of the second half when, with Swansea leading 1-0, Marc Bola’s long-range effort was disallowed.

“I’m sure I’ll get an apology now from Alan Wiley (referee director at Professional Game Match Officials Limited) as I’ve had three or four in the last six weeks,” Middlesbrough manager Warnock said.

“I’ve had that many apologies I don’t know what to do with them.

“There were three things. (Ryan) Manning takes (Anfernee) Dijksteel out and not one of the officials see it. It’s a serious offence and he’s comes off injured, no booking and that’s wrong.

“With the goal he thought it was a free-kick to them, he hadn’t see (Yannick) Bolasie won the ball. It’s either a penalty or a goal.

“I’m a little bit bewildered about the penalty. He pointed for a corner kick, but he assures me that when he thought about it that George didn’t get any of the ball and it was a penalty.

“I asked ‘why did you point to the corner flag? Were you guessing?’. But that’s what he said.”

Swansea’s win took them above Brentford, who did not play, and into third place in the Sky Bet Championship – one point behind Watford with two games in hand.

“We have had a couple of penalties now, haven’t we?” Cooper said on having penalties in three consecutive games after going 25 league games without one.

“It’s a little bit ironic the timing of it, but I would be so disappointed if our players were making challenges like that at pivotal times in the game.

“Both decisions in both games I think were clear penalties and we have got Andre to put them away. It’s not rub of the green, it’s about spirit and hard work.”

Asked about Warnock’s comments on Swansea, Cooper replied: “All I care about is ourselves. I will only give comments on ourselves.

“I am not interested in other clubs, I never have been. I just make sure we keep our values and our class to what the community and the club deserve.”