Jonathan Woodgate has called for VAR to be introduced in the Championship after claiming his Middlesbrough side were robbed of two clear goals in their 1-0 home defeat to Brentford.
Ollie Watkins’ second-half strike settled things at the Riverside, but Woodgate was left raging at the officials’ decision to rule out two first-half efforts from his side.
Ashley Fletcher was penalised for handball after a quick corner from Marvin Johnson ended with the ball in the net, but Woodgate is adamant the final touch came off Brentford defender Julian Janvier, and replays suggest Fletcher was clearly onside 14 minutes later as he raced on to Daniel Ayala’s through ball and lofted a shot over David Raya.
Video technology has been introduced into the Premier League this season, but it is still not in use in the Football League, something Woodgate thinks is a unjustifiable anomaly given the financial clout of the Championship.
The Middlesbrough head coach said: “It was two mistakes from the linesman in my view. Ashley Fletcher was two yards onside, and I mean two yards. I can’t understand how you can’t see that. Then after that, he gives a handball, and it wasn’t.
“My view is that VAR is in the Premier League, so why isn’t it in the Championship? Why? Is the Premier League more special than the Championship? Not in my eyes.
“This is a league we want to get out of, but big decisions don’t go your way, so I’m not happy about it. On the plus side though, I thought my players were absolutely outstanding. Especially in the first half.
“OK, in the second half, especially in the first 10 minutes of the second half, we need to tighten up a little bit. But me being a Middlesbrough fan, I’d have been proud of my team.”
Brentford barely created an opportunity before the interval, but Thomas Frank’s side were a completely different proposition as they took the game to their opponents in the second half.
Darren Randolph produced a fine save to deny Mathias Jensen, but Brentford claimed the only goal of the game nine minutes after the break as Watkins converted Sergi Canos’ low cross.
The Bees lost their opening game of the season at home to Birmingham, and suffered another blow in the week as last season’s leading goalscorer, Neal Maupay, left to join Brighton.
However, Frank feels that in Watkins, they boast a ready-made replacement for last season’s number nine.
Frank said: “I have big belief in Ollie – he scored a classic number nine goal. We had to sell the best number in the league when Neal left, but now the (new) number nine has scored, so it is a case of job done.
“It is becoming a nice habit to win here, but I was disappointed with us in the first half because we gave the ball away too much, and I was impressed with Middlesbrough.
“We kept throwing the ball away and making bad decisions. At half-time, I said we needed to be much more aware, that we were too soft, and that we had to make better decisions.”
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