Leeds United boss Garry Monk insisted there ‘wasn’t a gulf of difference’ between his side and Newcastle United after the Magpies strolled to a 2-0 win at Elland Road.
Monk blamed an “honest” Rob Green mistake and a controversial penalty decision for the loss but said the result would not affect the impetus of Leeds’ season.
The Whites’ head coach was frustrated by the refusal of referee Graham Scott to award a spot-kick in the passage of play between two goals from Dwight Gayle which extended Newcastle’s lead at the top of the Championship yesterday.
Newcastle were 1-0 up towards the end of the first half when midfielder Jack Colback blocked a cross from Ronaldo Vieira with his elbow.
Scott dismissed fervent appeals from Monk’s players, yellow-carding centre-back Pontus Jansson for dissent and ruling him out of their game at Rotherham United in the process.
Gayle, who took advantage of an error by Green on 23 minutes, struck again 10 minutes into the second half, ending the contest and deflating Elland Road’s first capacity attendance for almost six years.
“Today’s game was decided on critical moments,” Monk said. “Our commitment was very good but we fell on the wrong side of those moments. Had we not we probably would have got a result.
“I’ve had many penalties given against me and my teams for much less than that. It was clear-cut in my eyes. Your hands are raised, you’re half turning your back. There’s no need for an explanation (from the referee). It’s clear cut but he didn’t give it.
“We obviously made a mistake for the first goal and that made it difficult but we reacted really well. For the last 15 minutes of the first half we were on top of them and had a goal gone in it would have changed the context of the game.
“We just needed that goal. But in terms of competing and attitude, you can see there wasn’t a gulf of difference.”
“We were playing a very good side. Their second goal was the one moment where you really saw their quality. From their point of view, it’s a quality goal.
“I’m disappointed with the result but I can’t complain about my players.”