Steve Bruce points out 'harsh' decision for Newcastle United during West Ham defeat

Newcastle United head coach Steve Bruce believes the result against West Ham turned on a “harsh” penalty decision.

Sunday, 15th August 2021, 5:07 pm

Jacob Murphy was penalised for a challenge on Pablo Fornals in the 62th-minute as he attempted to clear Michail Antonio’s effort that crashed off the woodwork.

Martin Atkinson pointed straight to the spot, and VAR opted against overturning the match referee’s on-field decision.

Antonio saw his penalty saved by Premier League debutant Freddie Woodman, however Tomas Soucek was on hand to fire home the follow up to make it 3-2.

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Newcastle United head coach Steve Bruce. (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images)

Antonio then finished the game for the Hammers. That was despite Bruce’s side leading 2-1 at half-time after goals from Callum Wilson and Murphy.

Bruce said: "I don’t think there was much wrong with us offensively but it’s getting that balance right, isn’t it?”

“As soon as we chased the game, we left ourselves exposed and open and you can’t afford to do that at this level.

“The referee’s decision to give the penalty... I understand the first instance – I’ve got no complaints about it, the attacker gets the benefit of the doubt.

“But I don’t understand the rule why the referee can’t just have a look at the monitor himself.

“I think if he had done that, after looking at what I saw four or five times, I think he might have turned around and said it was a bit harsh.

“That is the big turning point in the game. Unfortunately, we’ve given away too many soft goals.”

The 60-year-old confirmed he planned to pay a visit to referee Atkinson after the game.

He added: “It is the turning point. In the Premier League, it’s fine margins.

“I have to say, the spectacle for an hour or so was very, very good.

“Once we went chasing the game., we made it very difficult for ourselves with Antonio’s pace.

“If the referee had a look, and I’ll go and see him now to try and understand it a bit better.

“Why couldn’t he just have a look at the monitor rather than someone else 300 miles away?”

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