CLARETS boss Sean Dyche admits he will be looking for answers from the Referees’ Association after the latest perceived injustice against Burnley.
Dean Marney was sent off for what looked a perfectly legitimate challenge, and Burnley went on to lose 2-1 in a blow to their play-off hopes.
It was the latest of a long line of crucial decisions to go against Burnley since Dyche took the helm - six in his 16 games in charge.
First there was Daryl Murphy’s goal for Ipswich in the 2-1 defeat at Portman Road, when Lee Grant was impeded, before Kieran Trippier was sent off and conceded a penalty in a 1-0 setback at home to Charlton for handball, when it looked impossible to get out of the way.
Then Dexter Blackstock was allowed to climb all over Jason Shackell to head the opener at Nottingham Forest, and Charlie Austin’s “goal” at Birmingham was chalked off, as the referee stopped play after Mitch Hancox’s horrendous lunge on Trippier - for which he received only a booking.
Brian Stock was then sent off in a case of mistaken identity in the FA Cup at Barnsley, and Dyche has had enough.
He is pondering following the likes of Tony Pulis and Graham Westley and compiling a dossier of the injustices, and he said: “I’m just flummoxed at the moment.
“We’ve had six game-changing decisions now in 16 games, including three sendings off – one for mistaken identity, one for a handball on the line which no-one could believe he got sent off for, and that one.
“As a manager you don’t want it to get to that stage (of putting a dossier together), but I’ve just given you the stats and that’s not good reading.
“For a club like us that’s worked so hard to get ourselves into a really strong position, the players worked ever so hard again, played some fantastic football, 10 v 11 still creating chances, Butland pulled off a terrific save, Ingsy hits the bar, some of the football was excellent, but you’re having to earn wins not just by beating 11.
“The officials should be there to manage the game, not make decisions that change it radically or come as a surprise to people.”
Dyche was flabbergasted by Marney’s red card: “I was surprised to see someone go off the pitch.
“It had a massive affect on the game when I think we were beginning to control it.
“The angle I had was one where one of our men tackles the ball and gets sent off for it.
“It was the same thing in the first half with the same player, makes a fantastic tackle and gets pulled up for it.
“It was for excessive force apparently, so I think you’ve got to tackle softly now.
“You could hear by the reaction of the crowd, they loved it. Not in a vicious way or a silly way, but you cannot take a great tackle like that out of the game because it will kill football.
“We want the beauty of football – all managers out there want to play the beautiful game. We all want to try to be a version of Barcelona and Manchester United and Chelsea, but you can’t take away tackling, you can’t take away the nature of good strong tackles. It’s what fans buzz off and it’s part of the beautiful game.
“For the greater good of football you can’t be getting sent off for making great tackles by that.
“I’ll be looking for answers from the referees’ association on that one because I just can’t work it out.
“I always try to make it clear the three toughest jobs in football are the two managers and the referee.
“I’ve got no problem with referees, but it’s hard to not have a problem with that performance.”
The inconsistency is the problem - Marney twice produced similar challenges at Millwall last week without being punished, and Dyche added: “That’s the madness. We’re all looking for parity. It’s a tough job.
“But Lee Clark, fair play to him, came over and said ‘I thought they were sending off our lad’ because Marney got there early and made the ball and he thought his lad might have come in a bit late.
“I’ve seen it back and it wasn’t a vicious challenge, but he means because he (Robinson) got there a bit late, went over the top as he rolled over the top.”
It is a player’s instinct to go in for tackles, and Dyche continued: “The only question I had was ‘how can you decide my excessive force from the outside? How can you decide whether I’m in control’.
“These players do this for a living, so I’d give them the benefit of the doubt if they’re using their body in such a way. There was no height to the tackle, the feet were nice and low along the floor.
“What do you do? It’s a real tough one to take. Maybe you’re not allowed to use your feet. Maybe you should head it like Ben Mee last year.”
Asked whether he would appeal, he admitted: “I don’t know. I’m flummoxed with that. We appealed Kieran Trippier’s and I couldn’t believe (it failed).
“I took advice from all angles on that one and the people who advised me couldn’t believe it wasn’t changed.
“It’s more the stats for us – six game-changing decisions.
“I don’t think there are many that have been the right decisions.
“Three sendings off, I’m really surprised by all of those factors.”