Wayne Rooney became the first Birmingham City manager to lose his first three games in charge – but was convinced his side were denied a stonewall penalty during Saturday’s defeat at Southampton.
Goals from Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Carlos Alcaraz and Adam Armstrong condemned the Blues to their sixth defeat of the season. Jay Stansfield scored just before the hour mark, but it turned out to be nothing more than a consolation.
The visitors should have been awarded a spot in the first half, however, after goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu clattered into Oliver Burke after the attacker flicked the ball on with his head. The referee decided that it was not a foul.
Rooney complained about the decision to Sky Sports after the final whistle, calling it “an absolute disgrace”, before expanding on his feelings in the post-match press conference.
“I’m not a fan of VAR and you can accept referees and linesmen might make mistakes, but what you can’t accept is the penalty. It’s ridiculous,” the former Manchester United and Everton striker said, via BirminghamLive.
"It's embarrassing to be fair!" 😤
Mike Dean is shocked Birmingham were not awarded a penalty in their clash against Southampton 👇❌ pic.twitter.com/tksc2pvCnz
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) October 28, 2023
“Everyone in the stadium could see it. You could see the keeper is committed and he is coming at pace, he is coming in reckless. If he comes that way he has to win the ball. Burkey heads it on and he absolutely wipes him out.
“The most disappointing thing is, I was speaking to the fourth official and he told me the referee was clear with his decision and wasn’t willing to take advice from the fourth official or the linesman, because he was that clear there was minimal contact. That’s a worry and a concern for me.
“That didn’t go our way but I was happy with the reaction in the second half. We tried to take the ball in their half and play more front-footed. We got back in the game with a goal but unfortunately we couldn’t get a second, then they got the third and it killed the game.”
Birmingham were third in the Championship table when Rooney replaced John Eustace on 11 October, signing a three-and-a-half year contract, but have slipped into the bottom half following their last five away league games in a row.
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